March 28, 2013


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Egg Cookies

I was going to wait to share these guys but I just couldn't! I love these fancy little french men. They were inspired by this adorable set of eggs. Thanks again Pinterest!

I used the 'wet on wet' technique for the stripes and filled a ziplock with a small amount of black flood icing to make the two dots to form the moustaches. Drag a toothpick through the center of the dots and zip and zoop around to create different styles of manliness.

If you are a Canadian between the ages of say 28-35. Je suis un ananas! 

xoxo Melissa


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Sugar cookies

Hoppy Easter everyone! These sweet things were actually made about a week ago. Since then these lucky cookies have traveled across the sea with my mom and sister to my loved and lovely relatives in Japan. Yoroshiku!

Sugar cookies

These were my first serious attempt at decorated sugar cookies. I wanted a vintage yet refined colour palette and looking back at the pics I am super happy with the results. The lavender was initially meant to be a deep peach but one drop too much black colouring and I ended up with this deep mauve. A happy mistake.

One issue I struggled with on these cookies was the royal icing. I new in my gut that I had it wrong but I had whipped up the batch and just had to go with it. The icing did not set very quickly or well and I was left with a crystallized surface on the tops of the heavily flooded cookies. I hemmed and hawed about their lack of perfection but in the end was left with... too bad, deal with it. I had used Sweet Amb's recipe which I purchased from her site. Her cookies are a huge inspiration. They are perfect! And I just had to have her secrets even if it cost me a whole $1.99. The recipe itself is simple and straightforward, like all royal icing recipes there are only 3-4 ingredients. But the directions with the recipe were not very in-depth and so the technique did not work for me. Since these cookies I have found a recipe that works fantiddlyastic and will be posting it soon.

The cookies with paint-effect flowers are made using a "brush embroidery" technique. Two great videos can be found here and here.

The little bunnies were made using a transfer technique. You can use this print out of wee rabbits under a piece of waxed paper and then trace over the bunnies with pipe consistency icing. I provided a few sizes of bunnies but I used the smallest. You will need to use a tooth pick to coax the icing into the tiny details of the feet and nose. Cute! I then painted them gold using Wilton luster dust mixed with a little vodka and let dry. Once I added a second flood layer of icing I set the transfers on top to dry in.

Some other inspirations were the lace technique, thanks to Sugarbelle! And the marble technique, thanks to Sweetopia!

Sugar cookies

Along with my serious decoration of cookies I need to have the seriously perfect sugar cookie base to go along. So I made two different batches. One was Sweet Amb's Orange Cardamom (purchased along with the royal icing recipe) and the other was Sweet Sugarbelle's basic sugar cookie recipe. The recipes were very different in ingredients and technique.

Sweet Amb's recipe you chilled thrice! Once after the dough was formed, again rolled on a cookie sheet and then again once cut out! Whew! Too much I say! The flavour was nice and paired well with the sweet icing but the texture I found a bit tough. They are however a very durable cookie with nice sharp edges and I'm sure they can take a knockin' if being shipped.

On the other side Sugarbelle's involved no freezing but they spread quite a bit during baking and had softened edges.The flavour however was delightful! And the melt in your mouth texture from the icing sugar was amazing and got a big thumbs up from the boyfriend. But the icing sugar also made the cookies delicate and a little disintegrate-y when given the slightest rub. Hmm. The cookie trials continue, along with the running, the yoga and the vigorous shopping trips.

And now onto some other springy things...

backyard deer

I visited my childhood home in beautiful Victoria on Vancouver Island the other weekend. I hopped out of the car when we arrived and tried to catch a pic of this wee deer as he was walking thru the yard.

This adorable deer was popping up all weekend. His name is Kenny. Although I think he may be a doe.

When I was there I kept exclaiming how green the grass was be it lawn or highway median and my mom thought 'Well, maybe you don't see much grass in Vancouver'. Hmm, a bit true, but I still swear the grass is greener on the island. Ha! Pun!

point no point

While I was over, my mom and I drove up to Point no Point. I struggle with telling people about this secret spot so I usually only tell people I love or think are cool enough to enjoy it. Currently only my boyfriend reads this blog so we're safe. 

Point no Point is located just past French beach on the windy and rugged west coast of the island. A beautiful drive all year round and one of my favourites. It is a small resort which I have not yet had the pleasure to stay at, it's a little pricey and well, my mom's house is an hour and a half away. The restaurant however is an absolute gem. The food is made from local ingredients and is delicious! The best parts of Point no Point are the quaint atmosphere and the view! I love seeing the grey, choppy waters and chilly windswept trees while warming up with some tea and hearty soup.

I highly recommend asking the front desk for the gate code and taking their meandering path down to the beach. Its just enough to get the blood pumping and oh, the views.

I should also mention the wonderfully exposed west coast of our island is cold, windy and wet about 90% of the year but it is a very special type of gorgeous.

point no point

I hope where ever you are your spring is sprunging too.

xoxo Melissa

March 22, 2013


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Holler! Easter is almost here! And I have a lot of cupcakes to eat. No. Problem.

My decorating experience is still rather new so every time I bake something I want to try a zillion different techniques and recipes. This compilation of Easter goodies was a pleasure to make. The buttercream rose topped cupcakes were daunting but are deceptively simple. You can do it, I promise! They are definitely some of the prettiest on the plate and will probably be the last eaten.

I used a Wilton 104 tip and piped right onto the top of the cupcake. At first I tried attaching the cupcake to a flower nail with a little icing. What ended up happening was a half-finished rose cupcake landing face down on my cookie sheet. Spluff. However my boyfriend promptly helped with smushed cupcake disposal. After watching many tutorials building buttercream roses on flower nails I decided to go with this one and pipe directly on to the cake so the petals would extend to the edges. For colouring I used Wilton peach gel along with a healthy dose of ivory to soften and muddle the colour into a vintage shade to match the mini eggs.

These little guys are gumpaste ovals splattered with food colouring. This was my first time colouring gumpaste, it was easy and satisfying to see the colour blend so quickly and evenly, by the way I used Satin Ice. A little dab of Wilton teal gel colouring was the perfect match to the Cadbury robin's egg blue. The splattering technique is super simple and did not totally mess up my kitchen or t-shirt. Phew! I was a bit worried about the splatter projection range but it was only a few inches. To make the paint, mix equal parts brown food colouring and vodka or an alcohol-based extract. Vanilla extract would work perfectly in this colouring situation. Alcohols are preferred over water because it will evaporate quickly while leaving the colour behind. Water may soak into the sugary gumpaste and dissolve or discolour it. A short flat-tipped paint brush will result in the best bristle flicking. Dip the brush in paint, hold back the bristles with your finger and launch easter goodness!

While I was at it I also re-speckled the mini eggs.

I didn't use a tip for icing the round piped cupcakes I just snipped the end of the piping bag and piped away. To create the nest effect which I used on all of the cupcakes, besides the rose, I piped the cupcake as usual with a swirl from outer to inner and then piped a second ring of icing on top.

I had extra blue gum paste and decided to make a couple flowers. I used 3 cut outs of a tiny five petal cutter to make the small flower around a quick hand rolled bud. The large flower is actually made with the same oval cutter I used for the eggs because I do not have a teardrop rose cutter yet. I used 10 petals but the base of the flower was thick and too big so I just lopped it off with a pair of scissors.

For these sweet things I decided to raid my local Japanese store for some candy. I was inspired by this entrancing video that I found while watching these adorable red pandas.

The Konpeito are a traditional style Japanese candy which are thankfully not teeth shattering to encounter on the top of a cupcake. The Mini Peach packaging is probably it's best attribute but they do impart a lovely punch of fruitiness against the richness of the frosting.

The cake! This is the closest I have come to a fluffy, moist, super delicious cake that tastes the most like cake box cake. Yes, I want to make cake that tastes exactly like preservative-filled white cake mix. Yum.

I tried another batch of cupcakes previous to this recipe that used whole eggs and oil, no butter. What was I thinking! Well first off I didn't realize at the time that what I was after was a pure white cake and egg yolks really mess with the quest for whiteness. And the oil? I thought it might help with the whole mass-produced synthetic flavour I was after. However there must be some dehydrated butter flakes in that delicious powdery concoction they have you mix with oil.

This recipe is inspired by the cake goddess Rose Levy Barenbanm's White Velvet Cake and Cooks Illustrated White Cake. I've subbed a little almond extract for a rounded nutty flavour and substituted half of the butter with vegetable shortening in my hunt for moist marvelous-ness. I also used pasteurized egg whites for ease of use and factory flavour.

This cake will be my go to birthday cake recipe. It is fluffy and doesn't dry easily but the crumb is super stable and great for layering. The Fluffy Mom Frosting is the ultimate super sweet American buttercream style icing and will be another go to recipe. I looove this classic style of icing and have yet to fall head over heels with the ultra rich and traditional Swiss Meringue buttercream. I imagine its something like cilantro or sushi or beer. It just takes a few turns around the tongue to really understand it. PS I still can't stand beer.

"Cake Box" Cake

Yield: One 2 layer, 8" round cake or 20-24 cupcake

  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 3 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable shortening, at room temperature and cut into cubes

1. Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C). Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.

2. In a 2 cup measuring cup, combine the egg whites, 1/4 cup of milk, vanilla and almond extract and stir with a fork. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together on low speed ("stir" on a KitchenAid) for 30 seconds.

4. Add the butter, shortening and remaining milk and mix on low speed until just moistened. Increase to medium speed ("4" on a KitchenAid) for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg mixture in 3 separate batches; beat on medium for 20 seconds after each addition.

5. Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full for a domed peak or 2/3 full for flat tops.
Bake 12-16 minutes until tops feel stable or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center. Ensure to not over bake these delicate cakes! Check after 12 minutes, but not before, and check in 2 minute intervals until done. Immediately remove cupcakes from muffin pan to cool on racks.

6. Frost cupcakes only when they are completely cooled or your icing will melt. Cover and store at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator up to 5 days (eaten at room temperature). Best eaten the same day as baked.

Fluffy Mom Frosting

Yield: Frosts one 2 layer, 8" round cake or 20-24 cupcake

  • 1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups icing sugar, sifted (confectioners', powdered)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed ("4" on a KitchenAid). Butter will become fluffy and pale.

2. Add remaining ingredients and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium-high speed ("6" on a KitchenAid) for 3 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy and fluffy.

3. Best used right away.

I like to add a couple squirts of white food colouring to the icing for super whiteness. Using a clear vanilla extract would also help keep it white but I just can't part with my Nielsen Massey vanilla extract.

Thanks for reading!

xoxo Melissa

March 20, 2013


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Hey, nice to meet you! I am one lucky girl who has found herself with a lot of time on her hands.

I've recently left a career filled with many delightful, carpal-tunnel-making, creative-heart-racing, weekend-over-timing, fabric-development-dreaming, working-until-1 aming and eating-cereal-for-dinnering years of designing clothing.

Now that I have some time to breathe and explore new interests I am trying to decide what the next step in life could be. And well, I can't. With all of this time freedom I have been clamouring to complete a seemingly endless array of fantastic projects. One week I'm obsessed with the beauty and rarity of modern wedding dresses, the next cake design, then decorating sugar cookies, or, hey, how about two solid days of watching sugar flower tutorials. And then hours of 'pinning' quilts and dreaming up clothes I can't find on the racks. I'm honestly not sure what next week will hold. Carpentry? Painting? Oh boy.

I will be the first to say that I am not a writer. But I will try to maintain decent spelling and do my darnedest on proper punctuation. However when it comes to grammar and sentence structure you will have to give me free license for now. And I cannot for the life of me remember what the fundamentals of paragraphing are so I'll just put pictures in pretty increments. Like so.

Ahem, the purpose of this blog is pure selfish vanity and goal setting/attaining. There I said it, at least I'm honest. It will follow my foray into the crafty, dreamy, happiness and probable frustrations as I complete all the little projects that make my heartbeats as well as act as a helpful motivation and tracking tool. Through these projects I will flush out where my creative strength lies and in what genre I may find the most happiness, satisfaction and success. Have I said how lucky I am yet? I will record the process of creation and trials and tribulations of said projects and even perhaps provide a pattern or two for the internet world. Maybe something will click and it is back to clothing design. Or perhaps out into a fresh new little world of my own creation. Or maybe both? Or, or, or...

xoxo Melissa
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