Sunday, December 18, 2011

18 Christmas Cakes & A Gingerbread House

Well it has been a marathon couple of weeks in my kitchen. I have been baking Christmas cakes for sale as I blogged about earlier. I finished decorating the last of my cakes today and it was such a relief. I am really pleased with how it all went as I ended up with orders for 18 cakes. So far the response to the cakes has been extremely positive. The decorating went well, helped along by my awesome mum. Between the two of us we decorated 16 of the cakes in 2 hours last week. The other two cakes were still baking, and I decorated them this afternoon.

Some of the cakes ready for decoration. We cut out boards to fit under each of them.

The first six cakes decorated. My mum brought a selection of ornaments to put on top of the cakes.

All finished and ready to be wrapped in cellophane.

In the midst of baking and decorating Christmas cakes I have also been baking decorated Christmas cookies, gingerbread Christmas ornaments and now today, a Gingerbread House.

My kids were given a kit of cutters to make a Gingerbread House, so we decided to use it before Christmas so that they could show their uncle on Christmas Day (he is the one who gave them the kit). I love making gingerbread and have a great recipe from my mum. We make it every year, cutting out Christmas shapes and then once they are baked, we hang them on our Christmas tree. My kids love spending the week before Christmas eating them, and it makes the house smell delicious.  So this year I have made gingerbread twice, once with my neighbour and her two kids, and now again today to make a Gingerbread House. Once the house was cut out and baked we started taking photos and putting it all together.

I used a recipe for the royal icing that I found over at Sweetopia. The only thing I found was that my egg whites were very fresh and I think that affected the consistency of the icing. I needed to use almost twice the amount of icing sugar to get it right.

Once I did get the right consistency I was about to start raising the walls and putting the roof on.

Raising the walls.

First side of the roof is going on.

I did decorative trim along the joins to make it prettier.
 Because the icing is so thick I did all the assembly work and then my kids were able to start decorating.

I have to say that I am really happy with the job they did. They worked really hard, and only ate a few of the lollies as they were going along. Most of them ended up on the house!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Painted Presents

My sister and I have been busy painting again, and this week we both finished the projects we have currently been working on. We are starting to advertise our pieces for sale, and are putting together an album on our facebook page for people to look at. If you are local and would like to purchase one of our hand painted items for a great Christmas gift, feel free to pop over and browse our album at Painted For You. If you like what you see there, feel free to share our page with your family and friends too. We are trying to build our profile and would love it if you could "like" our page. The more the merrier, I say!

Also, you might be interested in having a look at the new page I have created called  Pay It Forward Project 2011 at the top of this blog. The Pay It Forward (PIF) Project was something I took part in on Facebook. It began as a status update (somewhere, by someone - I don't know who) that offered to give 5 friends something handmade if they promised to copy and paste the status as their own and offer the same to 5 of their friends; thereby paying it forward. I thought this sounded like fun, and it was a good reason to get back into painting again. I finished my first project on the 19th of February, 2011 and finished my last project on 28th September, 2011. It took an average of 8 - 10 hours to complete each project. I had great fun doing it, but won't be participating again next year.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Cakes by Jen

"Christmas Cakes by Jen." That's what the sign on the wall at my work says. I decided a week ago that I would try to sell a few Christmas Cakes at work to make a bit of pocket money. Optimistic in my selling power, I put 12 spaces on the order form as I thought that I would be doing well to get that many. I am selling 8" Decorated Christmas Cakes for $35 each and this is obviously a bargain as in the space of a week I have have received orders for 15!

Needless to say, I am madly preparing myself to bake and decorate this many cakes. So far I have baked 5 and have another 4 ready to go in the oven over this weekend. I need to do something each day to make sure that I keep up with demand. I'm hoping to decorate them all next weekend, so they must all be baked by then.

The exciting thing about all this? I said on my form that I would be taking orders up until the 9th December. So I still have another week of potential orders! Who knows how many cakes I will end up selling by the end of the week! I am truly thankful that I said COD and pick up only, I would hate to have to deliver them all!