Thursday, December 28, 2006
The decorated sugar cookies that you have just viewed are a sampling of the cookies that embellish my dining room Christmas tree. The tree is approximately nine feet tall and I usually bake and decorate about ninety to one hundred cookies each year. Besides the large cookies that you see here, there are also numerous miniature ones. Since I have a rather extensive collection of copper cookie cutters, I vary the selection of cookies each year. As you can probably see, liberal use is made of silver dragees and sanding sugar; they add an extra sparkle to the tree when it is lit. Typical of decorated sugar cookes, mine are first flooded with royal icing then overpiped with a thicker consistency of icing. I also do a bit of brush work (using alcohol) to add some painterly interest.
I am sorry to say that my photos of the full tree are nearly unusable; my digital camera is quite old and indoor pictures, excepting close-ups, taken with a flash are usually of poor quality. Here is one of the best-of-the-worst Blue Tree photos.
The Tree Topper is a copper watering can filled with baby's breath. Apart from the cookies, the ornaments on this tree consist of handpainted blue/white Chinese glass balls, copper chocolate molds, miniature copper kitchen pots, pans and utensils, copper celestial ornaments, miniature copper/blue apples and copper spiral "icicles". The celestial ornaments and spiral "icicles" were made by me from copper flashing left over from my roof replacement and chimney re-flashing. And, of course, there are blue lights...
The Blue Tree was featured in the Dec 2004/Jan 2005 issue of Design NJ Magazine. It was part of a spread which the magazine did of my six Christmas trees.
Friday, December 22, 2006
"...Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:
'Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.'"
(Sugarpaste bas relief angel. Background of Nativity scene is painted on sugarpaste; stars are piped royal icing with silver dragees. Inspiration for the blue angel was a Christmas card received from my friends Terry and John. I made this piece so that I might satisfy my desire to have a creche or representation of the Nativity in every room of my house. This one is for the dining room which is blue and white in its color scheme. The Christmas tree for that room is the Cookie Tree: blue lights, copper ornaments and blue and white sugar cookies adorn the tree. I'll be posting pictures of it soon...as soon as I finish decorating it. I'm still making the cookies.)
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
...to our family, friends and bloggers everywhere.
WE WISH YOU THE JOYS AND BLESSINGS OF THE CHRISTMAS SEASON
Maria and Antonia
(Painting on Sugarpaste
Adaptation of Madonna of the Goldfinch, c. 1767/1770
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo)
Monday, December 11, 2006
For the 60th Birthday of my friend Dennis, I created this very stylized adaptation of his country getaway, complete with "cottage", stone wall and one of Farmer Mel's over-the-hill bulls. A miniature Dennis in cammo is descending the steps ready to take on the wookchucks.
The cake is a four-layer, alternating chocolate and butter cake affair interspersed with chocolate buttercream and chocolate ganache. Cocoa powder was mixed into the fondant covering and a dusting of cocoa finished off the cake. The base is fondant-covered foamcore edged in two complementary ribbons.As usual, most of the sugar decorations are first sculpted in styrofoam then covered in sugarpaste (a fondant/gumpaste blend). A bit more smoothing and sculpting and the piece is ready for coloring. Some of the pieces, such as the rocks, have been sprayed with a food-grade lacquer to give them that shiny look. Other pieces have merely been steamed to blend the colors and take away the dusty look of the coloring powders.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
This is the professional photo that was taken of my entry in the OSSAS National Wedding Cake Competition 2006. I have also included a picture of my inspiration, St. Michael's church steeple in Kallmünz, Germany, at the top of this post. It was printed from a slide taken during my 1990 visit to Kallmünz and was included in a selection of photos in the sugar book that was part of the table decorations for the cake display. If you wish to view additional pictures of the cake and the various sugar accessories, please click on one of the labels at the foot of this post or the October 2006 archive link on the right side of the blog and scroll down to the bottom of the page.
By the way, the fondant border on the cake base was slightly damaged while being moved for the photography session. I have employed a bit of cloning trickery to mask the damage.