Monday, July 11, 2016

Hand made bobbins for the Electric Eel Wheel - Work in Progress

It's been quite a while since I've blogged recently.  I'm constantly making and crafting, but not everything I do seems to warrant a blog post.  I'm not really a "work in progress" kind of girl;  I much prefer reading blog posts that are much more informative and complete, but I've been asked for a few images of my Electric Eel Wheel bobbins so here they are!
I've been playing a lot with my Electric Eel Wheel and I'm still loving it.  Like everyone else I was only able to get 3 bobbins for it on the Kickstarter and inevitably there came a time when I needed more.  3 bobbins was never going to be enough now was it?!
So when it came to buy more I priced them up and it was going to cost me more in shipping and import duty to the UK than the price of two bobbins themselves.  So of course I decide to try to make my own.
My intention was to eventually do a step by step, but as this is my first bobbin, it's not perfect so I need to make a few changes.

As you can see, I used clear Perspex for the length of the bobbin as this was the only tubing I could find in the UK that was (almost) the right size.

I used layers of glittery Ice Resin for the ends which looks amazing but it's not the perfect option.  It's summer right now and when I came to use my Ice Resin bobbin I found that the end had distorted somewhat and needed heating in hot water to return it back to original shape.  So not ideal.

My Perspex and resin bobbin looks great on my wheel and complements the square Perspex flyer arms that I added beautifully.

It's also turned out a bit bigger too.  The central bobbin core is 3mm bigger but the bobbin ends are 6mm wider and the area on the bobbin length for the yarn to fill is 8mm longer.
Although perfectly useable, it's still a prototype.  Once I find a better resin that doesn't flex at UK summer room temperature I'll post a step by step tutorial.
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Friday, May 06, 2016

Ghostbusters Birthday Cake


A couple of years ago I discovered this page on Pinterest. It shows how to transfer any image onto a birthday cake using a colouring page, coloured icing, a sheet of glass and a sheet of wax paper. Do have a look, she does a fantastic job of recreating Dora the Explorer in icing for a great cake topper.

When I first pinned it I knew that it was something I'd like to try someday - I was just a little put off by how fragile it looked. I could just imagine myself spending ages creating a design and then breaking it when it came to putting it on my cake.

I ordered some inkjet acetate from Crafty Computer Paper for an earlier project and I noticed that the instructions said that it was 'food safe'. This made me wonder if I could use it in a similar (but much simpler) way for making a cake topper image.

My husband's birthday was coming up and I thought it would be cute to make him a Ghostbusters cake. I knew that he wouldn't want me to spend too much time on it, so this method of making a cake topper would be perfect for an informal but still fairly impressive birthday cake. Instead of icing, I wanted to make my design out of white and dark chocolate as it's less fragile and (in my opinion), tastier.   The Ghostbusters logo is ideal for a first attempt at a chocolate cake topper as it's only made from three colours, two of which (if you're not too fussy about colour matching) don't need any colour adding.

I found this image of the Ghostbusters logo on Wikipedia, but you really could use any image. The bolder and less detailed the image, the better finished cake topper you will get - especially if, like me, you have never tried this before.

To make a chocolate cake topper image you will need:-

Print out your image onto the textured side of the acetate.  You don't need to reverse your image as your design will be flipped twice.

You first need to go over the finest and most detailed lines of your design.  Pipe your design onto the smooth, shiny side of your inkjet acetate - that is of course the side that hasn't got ink on it.  If your fine lines are black like mine, dark chocolate makes a great substitute. Melt several chunks of dark chocolate in a bowl and pour it into a disposable piping bag. (I really didn't need this much dark chocolate!)  Allow it to cool down a little before snipping off the very end of the bag.

The very first layer of chocolate is your most detailed.  This is the most difficult layer so it's a good idea to practice your fine line icing before you start.  Some of the finer lines can be tweaked using a cocktail stick and thankfully any mistakes can be wiped away with a piece of kitchen roll.

Place your sheet of acetate with the chocolate outline into the fridge on a flat board so that it stays in place when the next layer is added.  Don't be tempted to put it in the freezer as this will cool your acetate down too much, meaning that your next layer of chocolate will set too quickly and you will get ridges at the edges of your piped lines.  (I make the mistakes so you don't have to...)

While your image is cooling you can move onto melting the chocolate for the next layer.

The next layers of my design were much simpler. The white of my ghost is melted white chocolate.  I first cut a small hole in the end of my disposable piping bag so that I could carefully go around all of the edges.  Once I was fairly happy with the outline I was able to cut a bigger hole in my piping bag to speed up the rest of the white chocolate.

Here it is with the white chocolate added.  As you can see, this is the reverse of my Ghostbusters logo so it really doesn't matter too much that I'm not an expert in piping!

To create my final layer I melted some more white chocolate and then coloured it with Wilton's Candy Melt food colouring.

The back is a bit of a mess as I wanted to make sure that all of my layers were bonded together.  I went over all of the areas where the red met the white with a generous piping of red melted chocolate.

The eagle eyed among you will notice that I actually made two Ghostbusters logos - one for an informal birthday party with friends and another for an even more casual birthday celebration with just the three of us. (You may also notice that it was only after making the larger logo that I realised that I didn't need to mirror my image.)

The latter one was quite a bit smaller and I wanted it to stand up from the cake and be inserted into a Rice Krispie chocolate cake.  I just cut down a couple of barbecue skewers and then attached them to the back of the cake topper with a very generous amount of melted white chocolate.

Here's a close up of the smaller logo from the front - as you can see, this technique is very forgiving!

And here's the final cake with the larger logo.  To carry through the Ghostbusters theme I topped the cake with red, green and brown Smarties which I think helped to finish it off nicely.

Now that I've discovered this technique I'm sure I'll be using it a lot in the future.  It really does allow a non-professional cake decorator like myself to get some pretty professional results very easily.


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