Castle Birthday Cake

My kids love creative cakes.  Well they love cake so I could get by with a bit of frosting.  But they really love something over the top.  It’s my son’s birthday this month and he has been thinking about his cake for months!  We talked about a pirate cake for which he was on board.  Then we talked about a cake with knights and that perked him up.  Then I said what about a castle cake that has knights defending the gold with the pirates attacking?  Eyes go wide.  Score!  🙂

As I mentioned in this apple jam post he really wanted the apple filling.  I made that the day before his family party.

Several days prior I needed to make the castle tower so it was set and ready to go.  Crispy rice treats are a major component to doing something like this.

Castle cake 1 2013

It’s very unglamorous but you squish the treats together to form the tower and the bits at the top until you get the shape you need.

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I like to use gum paste to cover the form so I mix in the colours I need for this and start wrapping the tower.  It gets a bit fiddly trying to blend the seams.

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Then I add the doors and windows and the floor of the top of the tower.  Once finished stick toothpicks on the bottom so it can be attached to the cake.

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Now when I showed him the tower he was thrilled.  I had bought some figures and was going to keep it relatively simple.  But then my MIL got grand plans!  She said to my son how wonderful it would be with a moat, drawbridge, fencing, etc.  Facepalm.  LOL  Back to the drawing board!  I managed to figure it out.

On the day of I placed the cake onto the board for decoration.  He requested yellow cake for this layer.

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I had some round chocolate cake in the freezer so I layered that onto the yellow cake with apple jam.

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I then took broken pieces of cake to form a rough “cliff” which I didn’t take any photos of unfortunately.  I placed the tower onto the cake then used buttercream frosting in green, yellow, and blue as this was a cliff scene coming off a beach.  I made a yellow moat with blue gel for the water.

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Next I used brown sugar as the sand.  I placed the figures round the cake to set up the scene.

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I found these great tall birthday candles that I used for torches round the tower and then one near the canon to light it.  🙂  I used yellow peanut M & Ms for the gold.

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I used part of a kitkat bar as the drawbridge.

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And what is a fantasy scene without a dragon?

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Needless to say he loved it.  🙂




Despicable Me Minion Hat

As I found I didn’t have time to knit 3 dolls like Young Elsie I wanted to find something creative for my kids.  I decided to try my hand at hats.  My son loves the movie Despicable Me so I went onto and found a pattern for the minions.  It looked relatively easy which was good as I’d never knitted a hat before.  As I’ve forgotten how to crochet and have never done it in the round before here is how I got round that bit.

yellow hat 1 2013

After I knit the hat I had to come up with a cunning plan.  (Yes, I watched Blackadder last night but my plan actually worked)  I bought bits of felt for the goggle eyes.  I didn’t have any patterns to cut out so I used household items to get the size right and cut it out of paper.

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So once the felt is cut out you should have pieces to do this:

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Using matching thread you want to sew the black to the white, white to the grey.

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For the band, I tried crocheting and I am just so out of practice I decided to garter stitch until I got the length right.  I used 5mm needles and cast on 5 stitches.

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I did however manage to single crochet the mouth!  Small victories.  🙂  Sew it all onto the hat to complete.

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My son got a kick out of this Christmas morning.  🙂


Young Elsie – the finished product

Happy New Years everyone!  I hope that 2013 is a great year.

I posted about knitting Young Elsie at the end of August.  My plan was to make 3 dolls for Christmas.  It was down to the wire on one doll!  I finished a couple of days before Christmas.  Not that it was difficult but it was time consuming given all the details.

Young Elsie 1 2013

I loved all the components that went into this doll and I got to try out a lot of techniques to make the various toys and accessories.  I needed a bit of stuffing, paper, straws, and cardboard to bring it all together.

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This was for my niece and the poor thing was wary of it as she was very tired and the doll is 16″!  In time I hope she warms up to it though my sister was thrilled.  My kids are each picking a doll out for themselves so I’ll be working on that this year.  🙂

Jean Greenhowe’s Young Elsie

When Rich and I were in England earlier this year I was introduced to Jean Greenhowe’s patterns for knitted doll figures.  They are really adorable so when I got back I looked for them here.  I was able to order a few books online and they came this week.

I am making this one for my 3 year old niece:

Turns out this is a lot easier to knit than Aran jumpers!  Given that it’s mostly st-st go figure.  🙂  My kids love them too so hopefully I can get this one done quickly then make one each for my kids.  There is a pirate I can do for my son and a cooking one I can do for my daughter.

I’ll post a picture of the finished project when completed.

Fun Garden Markers

Anyone living in New England knows that one of the most successful harvests are rocks.  So what to do with them all?  Well, I found an idea on Pinterest that would be fun to do with the kids.  So I sent them out to the garden to harvest some good rocks for this little project:

We spent an hour or so painting our markers for our veg garden.  After they dried I sprayed a clear coat of acrylic paint onto the rocks.

Now for the fun part….

We then painted designs with glow in the dark paint!  The kids got such a kick out of this.  It is very easy to do so we’ll definitely do more of this as we have time since we plant so many different kinds of veg.