Monday, February 21, 2011

Preparing for "Canada Blooms" Garden Show

Our group, Canadian Society of Sugar Artistry (CSSA) will have a booth at the garden show "Canada Blooms" in the middle of March.  One of the exhibits will be a six tier cake decorated in sugar flowers all handmade by members.  Verdie and I are working on the peony tier.  Lisa (Flour Confections in Pickering) is our team leader.  This past Sunday we worked in Lisa's amazing shop and produced these spectacular peonies. 
Here's Lisa covering up the foam "buds" with gumpaste petals.  This takes three small petals first to cover the Styrofoam, then three and then five petals of the next size
This is the bud with eleven petals.  Add a calyx and this would be a bud.  Most of them will need another ten to 15 petals to complete the flower.
Kathi and Stefani are making the larger two sizes of petals on wires.  They are drying in a plastic former that has a hole for the wire to go through.  A better system than the apple trays I was using!

The petals have been tooled and shaped and are drying.

These are peony leaves, tooled to thin their edges.  They are drying on the foam to give them a more natural look.

These are the cutters we used for the leaves and petals

The next two photos are of Lisa's shop.  It's well stocked with great cutters and cake decorating toys.  All the tools we used to make the peonies she sells.  Here's a link to her website Flour Confections

Verdie is adding the larger petals on wires to the buds.

The inside of an open peony is filled with stamens.  Lisa is holding the inside of one peony.

An open peony finished.

It was a lot of fun and those flowers are really lovely.  Can't wait to see the cake.  But that won't be until the middle of March and I'll post some more photos then.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Flowers - Sugar and Thread

Mary Corbett's Needle & Thread arrives in my e-mail inbox every day.  She asked the question: "Do you have other crafts and hobbies that you pursue, in addition to embroidery?".  Yes I do, my other wonderful hobby is cake decorating, especially making sugar flowers.  Here's examples of some that I have made.
Here are sugar calla lilies, and underneath calla lilies in stumpwork 

These are sugar hydrangeas

And here and below are stumpwork hydrangeas

This is a sugar cherry blossom tree

A silk ribbon rose tree

A sugar wild rose, or briar rose

And a silk ribbon rose

These are sugar hybrid tea roses

And these are ribbon roses
And finally some sugar pansies just waiting to be included in a spray for a cake.

Silk ribbon pansies
One thing I realize is that I love flowers - sugar, silk and real!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Recycling a Church

The view from my balcony faces east.  Our building is about 35 years old, built when land wasn't so expensive and buildings weren't squashed together, so we have a lovely wooded ravine and stream at the back of the building and a long drive and gardens facing the front.   From my balcony I have a pleasant view, mostly trees and a lovely old smaller church with a wonderful spire.  Every morning and evening from the spire came some lovely music.  It sounded like bells, but it wasn't the real thing, something electronic.  Nevertheless, everyone in our building looked forward each day to the few minutes of music.  It was built in the 1800s and a few years ago was declared not safe.  So the congregation and the music maker moved a little distance up the street to a new church situated within a Catholic School.  The rumours went around that the old church was too bad to be fixed and too expensive anyway.  Much to our delight, the Town stepped in and purchased it and began renovations.  The plan is to make it into a community arts centre.  It will have a stage and rows of movable seating, and a new area in the front of the church that will serve as an welcoming area and a small bar.  We were a little leery of the design sketches, and waited for the work to begin.   During last summer and fall a lot of structural, roofing and inside work took place, and just recently the outside has begun to take shape. The photos below show the project so far.   It doesn't look at all out of place, just a bit modern and if you have to add a big chunk to the front of a beautiful church, glass was a good choice.   

Monday, February 14, 2011

Kathy's Basically Beaded RR Block

By the time this block arrived at my place it was a heavy piece of work.  Peggy, Meg and Arlene had added plenty of sparkle and unusual pieces.  The empty spot left for me was the middle (!!) and a section of embroidered lace.  While I was working on the other two RR's I had this one on view to get some ideas of what I could do on the lace section.

I followed the inside pattern of the embroidery and added tiny beads, charlottes and delicas.  And in the centre of each of the three a crystal.  The flower, top right is a piece from a chandelier and to bring it to life I sewed sequins underneath.

This is a rose.  I pretended I was doing bullion stitches with beads, shading them to look like petals.  Did it work?   The two small beaded seams are beaded daisy chains.
This was the last block in this round robin.  I have really enjoyed trying to come up with something different.  The book with the instructions for the daisy chain, "The Beader's Floral" is a wonderful book and I'm determined to progress further than the daisy chain!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rebecca's Brazilian Embroidery RR

I added the lupins on the left.  The stitch is a raised chain band.  I used Sassa Lynne variegated thread perle #5.  The hollyhock is loads of cast on stitches.  For the smaller flowers at the top I used Edmar thread, further down DMC perle 5 colour variations.  The pansies are cast on stitch.  The tall leaves are woven picots.  

A feather stitch seam and bullions both in Edmar thread.

Whipped spiders webs

This is how the block looks after my contribution.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Basically Beaded - Meg's block

This is Meg's block ready to move on to Kathy now that Arlene, Peggy and I have added our beaded embelishments.

I added these beaded flowers and leaves and the seam to the right.
And this jewel in the bottom right corner.

And this dangly seam treatment.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy mail day!

These three beautiful blocks arrived in mailbox a day or so ago.  This first one belongs to our CQI Basically Beaded RR and is Kathy S' block.  So far it has the work of Meg, Pegsue and Arlene and a section that Kathy added before sending.

Also in the Basically Beaded Round Robin, this is Meg's lovely block with Pegsue and Arlene's lovely beaded stitching.

Here is Rebecca's  block from our Brazilian RR.  So far it has made only one stop, at Dee's.
I think I have my work cut out for me these next couple of weeks!