Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hot Air Balloon or Jack and the Beanstalk Cake

UPDATE APRIL 2015:  The latest hot air balloon cake creation using this method is seen in this picture above, which was made for my daughter's second birthday: a bit of a commemoration for the hot air balloon cake that I made for her older brother's second birthday.  The inspiration for this cake was to do a spin-off from the original Wizard of Oz movie.  I had the bright idea that Glinda (the good witch) ought to transform the wizard's getaway hot air balloon into one of her bubbles.  I managed to do this with all natural food colorings: cream cheese frosting tinted with turmeric for yellow brick road, bordered with chopped pistachios, basket made of gingerbread with icing glaze for adhesive, tornado made of ice-cream cone covered in chunky peanut butter and chocolate, and the top balloon portion covered in cream cheese frosting tinted with strong hibiscus tea.  It was also a carrot cake.

Cake design found in vintage 1960's cookbook titled Wilton's Wonderland of Cake Decorating by McKinley and Norman Wilton, this is the ultimate child's birthday cake that requires both mother's baking as much as father's handy work.  A delight to see and quite easy to work with, this do it yourself cake stand is versatile in what it can be; let your imagination go free!

The hot air balloon cake uses ribbon (wrapped over and strung through cocktail picks to be pressed into cake) to take one's eye off of the cake stand's center supporting rod, and really gives the illusion that this portion of the cake is floating!

The cake seen above was decorated with circus themed porcelain figurines, in which were inspired by my son's world's fair themed birthday party last year.  Would be a perfect cake for any carnival or festival themed party!

Balloon's basket is made of a ramekin sized miniature cake with plain toasted wheat (Chex) cereal placed in icing.  All cake pieces here were homemade carrot cakes.  I love how carrot cake is dense and therefore great in keeping its height, and not sinking or falling like other cakes or souffl├ęs are known to do.  Carrot cake is also my most preferred cake for Barbie doll cakes too: when striving to reach doll's waist.

Icing is a mixture of whipped softened butter and powdered sugar to taste.  For carrot cake, cream cheese frosting goes best; two sticks of butter per package of cream cheese.  A dash of turmeric spice for natural yellow coloring.

With the Jack and the Beanstalk cake, COTTON CANDY DISSOLVES OR DEFLATES QUICKLY! ... As regrettably seen in this picture; large marshmallows stuck in with toothpicks would be a more dependable approach for the cloud.

Hand cut paper dolls were made by printing images on card stock and being sure to leave bottom portions blank to help in providing enough area for pressing paper pieces into cake for support.  Curving the paper adds dimension.

Beanstalk was achieved by winding 9-10 green pipe cleaners around center supporting rod.  Winding end parts of each pipe cleaner around pencil gives off curly vines for Jack to climb on.

This cake was prepared by following a light fluffy white cake recipe that required three layers with lemon zest curd filling, and topped with chopped pistachios.  Yummy Fun!

From the vintage Wilton cookbook, the actual instruction for making this cake is seen above here with the cake being given the name Around the World in Eighty Days.

My husband, however, built it like this (seen above).  Running a screw rod up through half of a styrofoam sphere attached to a circular cut wood piece with spray adhesive glue, and bolted with washer at top.

Wooden skewer sticks were pressed into styrofoam ball piece to support cotton candy in the Jack and the Beanstalk cake; however, since this part failed (cotton candy dissolved quickly after being placed onto cake) pressing in toothpicks instead with large marshmallows attached may be a safer alternative.

Also something important to note, styrofoam flakes if ran under hot water (to say, rinse off icing).  To help keep this part of the cake stand like new, wrap it in aluminum foil before placing cake on stand and decorating with icing to prevent it from disintegrating.

Cake for top stand needs to be baked in an oven safe tall-ish bowl that doesn't have to exactly match the diameter of the stand, but certainly needs to be close; once icing is applied, it helps to even everything out to make a perfect sphere shape.

Best wishes on this DIY hot air balloon or Jack and the Beanstalk birthday cake stand and cake!  I won't make any promises, but if interested in having this cake stand made for you, contact me via Etsy convo through my Etsy store Storybook Artifact, and I'll ask my husband if he is willing to take on this construction project once again ... but like I mentioned, "no promises"; he is one busy dad.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Donate Just 8 Inches of Hair!



You would love to donate your hair, but don't want the commitment of a super short hairdo.  Pantene's Beautiful Lengths is the answer!  With a minimum donation of eight inches of hair (in comparison to the average ten), ladies (and men too) are able to get the haircut of their dreams just in time for summer!

Modeling a vintage cottage chic faux pearl necklace soon to be found in Storybook Artifact's Garments and Jewelry section.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Favorite Season: Is it Springtime?

Being able to gather a bouquet of blossoming flowers from the backyard and create such a lovely arrangement really warms my heart.  It brings elegance to a cozy home, and the floral scent truly fills the house!

The vase I am borrowing from my sister.  It is one of her decoupage art creations featuring images with resemblance to Lichtenstein pop art, and I still have it from after a recent photo shoot of it.  The vase will soon be available for purchase in her Etsy shop's Upcycled Decoupage Art section.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Embracing the Misconceptions of Online Doll Shoppers May Help Sales

From far and wide, it has come to my attention that there are interestingly notable similarities among many vintage plastic dolls to the point where categorizing them or distinguishing them from one another has become somewhat of a loose term when tagging dolls for online shopping.

From a doll collector's standpoint, it may seem arbitrary to have a doll pop up in a search that it may or may not belong in.  However, the idea of potential customers distinguishing dolls themselves incorrectly leads reason to believe that providing this gateway to your doll for sale is in fact logical.

Dolls' Similar Features:

_Wig glued to head
_ Movable arms and head
_ Measuring 7.5 inches tall

Doll Groups:

Don't get me wrong, how dolls are valued does vary, especially in consideration of their condition: i.e. "still in original box" vs. "has slight wear".

To conclude, it is more than coincidence that these dolls resemble one another; they did all originate from companies that started producing dolls around the 40's and 50's.  The use of plastic in doll making was right at the beginning.  In hindsight, this set the foundation for dolls made today.

Dolls in blog article are found here: 

Friday, January 25, 2013

For Romeo's Valentine

Storybook Artifact has a new shop section called "For Romeo's Valentine" filled with the most thoughtful gifts and supplies in preparation for this coming Valentine's Day!

Featured above is a lovely rare antique print (from an early 1900's advertisement) available in digital format and card stock prints.

Vintage valentines from the 40's available!  Classic gifts for her: like this stunning glazed pottery pin of hearts and roses.

... For Shakespeare enthusiasts, those who dream as if they were Alice in Wonderland, romantics, admirers of antiques, original art works, and many other lovelies.  Come check it out!