Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cake layers

I am up early to sneak onto the computer to get this post done for you all so my husband can get back to work this morning before we head into the office! The jobs all come at once... you know how it is!

Okay so back to the WAFER CAKE:

Today we are going to do the layers. You have already made your Cooked Sweet Milk and it has cooled over night. So now get out your mixer or you can do this by hand if you wish but I LOVE my KitchenAid mixer.

Start by putting your cooked sweet milk into the bowl and add a half a stick of butter. Mix until well blended!

While that is blending get our your Waffle Wafers and get one ready with Waffle side up. I placed mine on some nice parchment paper on a cake carrier. There are two sides to your waffle sheets and one is smooth; the smooth side should be down and the waffle side should face up to you.

Once your sweet milk is nicely blended with your butter or margarine is fine as well (if you use margarine be sure to use baking margarine not tub margarine), we are ready to begin layering. our some of your milk mixture onto the wafer sheet and gently begin spreading your milk from the middle outward towards the edges! Make sure to get your filling right to the edges. I even let mine drip off a bit... that made it look really pretty anyway!

Using a really nice spreader knife is very helpful. Luckily my Mother In Law had one I could use but if you do not have one just use a nice butter knife. It will take a bit more time but it will work!

While I was preparing the next layers my Mother In Law read to me all of the Ukrainian traditions for Easter from her book... It was a really nice touch to the evening!

I made two layers with the sweet milk and the traditional way is to make all the layers this way but I wanted to incorporate a different layer that I thought we would all enjoy. So I made a chocolate and peanut butter layer. You cannot do this ahead of time... you must do it as you are about to use it if you decide to do this also as it gets too thick if it cools!

Taking 12oz of chocolate chips (any kind or style will do) I used a mixture for this cake of milk chocolate and white chocolate chips and a half a stick of margarine you want to slowly melt this on a double boiler. Make sure you stir constantly and do not have your heat too high or you will over cook your chocolate. Once mostly melted add a cup of peanut butter. Melt until smooth!

Now begin to layer again in the same fashion as before with your peanut butter layer. I did two layers like this on the cake.

Now finish he layering with the rest of your sweet milk! I used 1 1/2 packages of Wafers for my cake but you can make it higher or lower as you see fit! There are not rules to this!

Finish with a Wafer on the top with no filling! Now you need to place a nice heavy cutting board and a bowl of water or a heavy baking dish on the top and let it sit in the fridge over night... a minimum of two hours if that is all you have but over night is best! You need the layers to combine with the wafers and harden to hold the wafers together. The board and bowl help to keep your cake flat until they bind and harden otherwise your cake will warp and edges will curl!

You can count your cake as finished at this point if you like and simply let it cool and then serve cut into pieces but I wanted to make mine into a birthday cake so I wanted a top icing and decorations... I made a chocolate ganache for my icing! I only did the top of the cake as I wanted the pretty edges and layers to show!

For your ganache you need equal parts of heavy cream (Whipping cream) and chocolate... I used semi sweet chocolate for this.

All you do is heat your cream to a boil and remove from heat immediately. Have your chocolate in a different bowl waiting and slowly pour your hot cream over the chocolate. Mixing as you go and mix until the chocolate is completely melted! It will be thick and lovely! Now do the same thing as all the other layers and pour onto your cake top, smoothing it from the middle outward towards the edges. 

Let cool over night! It will be shiny and taste light and delicious!

Do any decorations the way you like and your cake is ready to serve! My Mother In Law did the top decorating with butter cream icing that she handmade... I was not feeling well so never got to see this part being done but here is the final image of the finished cake...

Everyone loved it... it was light and delicious and surprisingly not too sweet or heavy! A really lovely cake that I would recommend for any occasion! Easter would be a fabulous time for this cake!

I celebrated my birthday at the same time even though mine is not for a couple of weeks yet... April 5th when I will be turning 45yrs old. But I wanted to share the cake that was purchased for me this year! I requested it as I had never had an ice cream cake before... A Reese ice cream cake from Dairy Queen and it was FABULOUS and even better it went great with the Wafer cake too!

It was a really lovely day and I hope you will get a chance to try out the cake recipe too sometime. Just remember that although this cake is really easy to make... you need a few days to do it properly so this is not a last minute cake! But it is worth all the waiting!

Here is a piece for you... THANKS for joining me here to see how to make a traditional (with a twist) Ukrainian wafer layer cake!




Wednesday, March 28, 2012

More cake soon

Hello Everyone

There is only so much time in a day and today my time is up on this computer. My husband has a bunch of graphic art jobs that has needs to get done and this computer is the place to do it so I will have to postpone the rest of the cake until the jobs are completed! Hang in and I'll be back soon to show you how to make it and how it all turned out!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pishinger and Dulce de Leche

Hello everyone:

First let me say thank you to all who adopted and all who participated in the Teddies Worldwide online show! I am happy to tell you that 4 tea cup pouches and 3 bears were adopted! This time around it seemed the traditional bears were the hit of the show, at least for Seraphim Bears anyway. It was super fun and I look forward to the Christmas show! Until then I will be working hard on other bears for Silly Bears, Colin's gifts, a very very special bear for a bear artist friend that I will keep a secret until Christmas and a few custom orders that I have to now get caught up on!

I will try to post photos when I can of course but some will have to remain a secret until release dates etc. I am going to get back to the fur bears now also but we are just at the sewing stage right now so there isn't a lot to show. I will when I get to a point where it's a bit more exciting... soon!

Now this weekend was my husbands birthday and as you know I am now the official cake maker. In my last post I made a typo and it said I was NOT and it was supposed to me the word NOW the official cake maker so just to clarify I AM and so I decided to make him a cake that was not of the norm. He loves the wafer cookies and as it turned out there was a cake that is traditional in the Ukraine (which is his background) that combined the wafers and his culture so I aimed to make that! The cake is traditionally called pishinger.

So to begin with I had to find the wafers, which I found at the Bulk Food store in the cake section! From what I saw online these are fairly difficult to find so I guess I was lucky in getting them! The ones I found were not coloured or round and fancy but they were fresh and rectangular which I thought would make a nice cake!

The next step was to prepare the Dulce de Leche as I wanted that as four layers of the cake filling. This was a tricky thing to make from scratch! I know that Presidence Choice products makes one but I wanted to make this authentic so I made mine from scratch!

First I had two cans of sweetened condensed milk and two canning jars. I transferred the milk from the can into the jars. Now you can apparently make this by leaving the sweet milk in the unopened can but in today's day one never knows what coatings they have in cans etc. and seeing as how you have to apply heat to cook the milk I opted to change containers to glass. Not to mention that the can can apparently explode is one is not careful! I opted out of this possibility.


Once the milk was transferred, you need to hand tightened the canning jar lids so they are as tight as possibly but only with hand strength no tools!

Now you need to place them gently into your crock pot and make sure they are completely submerged into water... cover well with the water!

Now once they are in the water you are going to put your lid on and lock it down... mine locks but if yours doesn't just put the lid on as you normally would for your crock pot!

Turn your crock pot to LOW and leave to cook for 6 to 8 hours! I have to admit, I had to leave mine alone in the house with just my animals and I was nervous all day long but all went well and my milk cooked with now catastrophes! I think this is a much safer way to go than cooking it in the can on the stove! The temperature is more easily controlled also!

Once the eight hours has passed, turn the crock pot off and carefully bring it to your sink and pour off the water. Remove your sweet milk canning jars and allow them to cool completely before opening! Your sweet milk will be a lovely caramel shade and I know you will be tempted to just get a spoon right away... no tasting till cooler!

Then your milk is ready for your wafer cake layering! So as you can see this cake is not a quick make! It took us four days altogether to get it completed. I will post tomorrow with the beginning of the cake making!


Friday, March 23, 2012

Fur Friday - Postponed due to online bear show

Hello Everyone:

I just wanted to let you all know that today's Fur Friday post will be postponed till next week as this weekend ... Starting today at 4:00pm Eastern Standard Time, the Teddies Worldwide Bear show - Teddy Bears Tea Party is beginning and Seraphim Bears is exhibiting!

I look forward to seeing you all there and I will have 8 bears to offer in the MINIATURE category! Two are a bit larger in size but most are minis!

Here is your link to the show:

TEDDY BEARS TEA PARTY

I will be back next week with a proper FUR FRIDAY post!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Preview bear for Teddies Worldwide show

Here is my preview bear for the Teddies Worldwide show coming up March 23rd to the 25th!

This is Earl and he has a twin brother Grey but you will have to wait to meet him till the show!

Earl comes with his quilted tea cup and saucer and a lavender tea bag sachet too! He is only 4" tall!




Fur Friday - Pinning and marking - Lesson 5

So now that you have your lining on your leather it is time to pin!

So you don't want to poke pins through your leather plus on some leathers that would be rather difficult so there are several options but here are two Nancy mentions in her book:


 You can use tape or paper clips!


I chose to use the paperclips as I was not sure about the tape fraying my muslin when I tried to remove it! It works rather well but I have not started to sew the bears yet so we shall see how they are to remove while sewing! I did do a test and feel it will work well and better with the plastic coated paper clips than the metal ones. The metal ones are tighter but stick more when you try to remove them so I guess this will be a matter of taste for each artist... so you need easy release for sewing or a good firm hold, possibly for a thicker more dense fur... just pins for thought.

Now as you all know I am going through a bit of health issues so I did not get a ton done but I did want to share this next step with you and I also want to share with you a way to mark your bear on the right side so you can see where you need to place your arms and legs etc.

My Grandmother used to do it like this so she did not have to try to find the markings on the inside after she had turned her bears to the right side... And I thought this worked especially well with the fur bears.

First take some nice thick upholstery thread in a contrasting color to what ever your fur or bear is and you want to tread your needle, find your marking and pull one piece through, like this: (I suggest doing this before you sew or pin anything together)


Once you pull the tread through to the right side of your work (the fur side) unthread the needle and make sure the thread that is left on the right side is a little longer than the fur or mohair or whatever you are working with so you can see it easily.

Then take the other end of the thread that is hanging on the wrong side of your work and thread the needle again and do the same thing on the other side of your dot marking. Like this:


In the end you should be able to see your threads sticking out longer than your fur on the right side of your working making it really easy to find your markings!


Once you are putting your arm or leg into place the thread is easily pulled out with a tiny tug! 

I hope to be back next week with more so stay tuned! 

Big hugs and thanks for your patience while I get used to my new medications!


Thursday, March 15, 2012

What's on the Worktable Wednesdays - March 14

Still in bed mostly so not much going on but getting some stuff done! Slowly... baby steps!



Monday, March 12, 2012

Labels

Hello Everyone:

Well, the good thing is, with me not feeling so great lately, working on the computer can be done from bed on my laptop. So today I was able to finally get a job done that has needed doing for quite some time. I finally organized this blog to make things easier for you all to find your favorite posts. On the side bar at the very top you will now find my LABELS. It took some time but now you will be able to easily follow posts like Fur Fridays without searching through a ton of posts.

Sorry it took me so long to get on this but it's finally done. Thanks so much for being so patient and I hope this makes things easier.

Big Hugs

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fur Friday - Lining - Lesson 4

Okay, so today I am back to show you all how to line your fur bear. This is a very important step and should not be skipped! This lining will give support to your bear especially if it is old! I would also recommend doing this technique on old mohair - say from a recycled coat for instance. Or on any other fabric that you feel is fragile!

When I first began making bears I made one out of an old black mohair coat that was made to look like Persian Lamb. I did not line this bear as I thought the fabric seemed okay...


When I tried to put the eyes into Gilbert one of them ripped right through the fabric and popped into his head! You can imagine my dismay! The fabric was too fragile to take apart and remake any part of the bear so needless to say, Gilbert will be a family bear and will never be sold! I still love him and he was a great learning experience. So take my word for this and learn from my mistakes... line your bear if you have any doubts about the fabric.

The first step is to get some good quality THIN muslin. You do not want to add unnecessary bulk to the bear and if your muslin is too thick it will also make turning the bear difficult! I use thin 100% unbleached cotton drapery lining. It is much thinner than the muslin that my fabric store supplies! It is all natural and soft also.

Trace your pattern onto the muslin with all necessary markings.


 If you trace your pattern on doubled fabric (Folded so you have two layers) you will only have to cut each piece once instead of twice! Remember your muslin has no nap so you can do this!

 Cut the muslin pieces out.


Don't forget to transfer all your markings to your muslin pieces and to do that on the right side of each piece... unless you can see through yours enough to see your markings that you made on your fur pieces! I marked both fur and muslin so I could make sure everything lined up perfectly!

Next you need a glue stick! I don't think it will matter what brand you use but here is mine:


Now you need to glue your lining to the backing of your fur. Use this glue SPARINGLY. Just a little is all you need! If you use too much when you go to sew this bear your needles are going to get all gummed up and will not slide through the leather easily. I actually kept my glue away from the edges of my pieces and concentrated on the center of the piece.


I did each piece one at a time with glue and lining so the glue would not dry out before I had a chance to get the lining on!

Once your glue is on the leather backing of your fur and you are happy with the amount you have placed on there get your corresponding piece of lining and match them up. Glue the lining to the backing and give it a good rub to press it down creating one piece!


Now your pieces should look like this:


Perfectly alined and lined!

I mentioned last week that there was a product that would help me to solve the issues I was having with my collar from this coat. The issue being that the leather had dried out. I also mentioned this product was something I had to purchase from a cake shop! And I promised to let you know this week what that product was...

So even though I am not going to demonstrate it's use this time around... here it is:


The glycerin is gently and sparingly rubbed into the leather backing of your fur. It will help to soften the leather without leaching through to the front like an oil or petroleum product will.

See you next week with the next exciting stage of making a fur bear!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What's on the Worktable Wednesdays - March 7

Well. sorry for the late post but as to What's on the Worktable Wednesdays... that would be me!



Yesterday I spent the entire day in hospital being prodded and pokes and one test after another to find out what is wrong with my ticker! So I guess I was and am on the worktable ... just not mine, instead the cardiologists.

So as it turns out they have found out what has been wrong with me for many years. Every time I went into the doc to explain my symptoms they could not find anything...a symptom of what I have if you can believe it!

I have been having trouble breathing and radiating chest tightness and discomfort! My hear races uncontrollably and I have not been able to do much for quite some time! As some of you might remember I wanted to start a workout regime but I was never able to keep it up for long because my heart felt like it was about to pop out of my chest! Lately it has gotten very very bad! So I went into the doc again and was given a heart monitor, AGAIN... but this time they booked me to wear it for two weeks and I got several readings.

Okay, that was a start but I seriously thought they would find nothing in the readings as I had worn the heart monitors before and even when I pushed the button to record a reading it came back negative. But I was wrong and it showed many positive readings.

So next was a stress test last week on Friday and the nurse there said she had never seen a heart rate as fast as mine... by the way I was only WALKING on a treadmill and for less than 2 minutes at the time she said this. I use to run 60 min a day!

Then Saturday came and went and I did not feel great and then Sunday came and it was the worst day I have ever had. I had a doctors apt booked for Thursdays this week (tomorrow) but I received a phone call from my doctor yesterday morning to ask me to come in immediately. So I went in!

I got there early yesterday and my doctor told me he would be at the hospital that day and he wanted to know if I would go to have testing done! He explained that he was very uncomfortable with the descriptions I was giving him of my Sunday! So of course I said yes!

After a long day yesterday and having very very good treatment... I even saw a cardiologist one on one and we did another stress test together ... WOW! The cardiologist has determined what I have!

I have something called PAT (Paroxysmal atrial tachycardia) or PVST. It is an electrical problem with my heart! It fires too often and makes my heart race! So a little while ago... almost an hour ago I took my first pill that will help my hear to slow down! It will regulate my hear beat or at least that is what we are aiming for.

There are always side effects but hopefully they will bypass me. But if not there might be a delay in my FUR FRIDAYS! But I promise as soon as my body gets regulated to the meds and the dizziness and tiredness goes I will get right back to it!

Not too bad for side effects really! And the pills are not that pricey and they are small too!

I am hopeful this will work and happy to tell you all also that PAT is NON LIFE THREATENING. It cannot cause blood clots and will not increase your risk of heart disease, stroke or anything else ... basically it is just a pain the chest! LOL!

So that's it for this weeks What's on the Worktable Wednesday... this time it was me on the doctors table and next week I hope I will have something wonderful to show you or at least tell you about my condition or my art!

Thanks for sticking with me... hang in there and I will do my best to get back on track and get posting. I have a pre-post ready so this Friday is covered!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Fur Friday - Cutting out a pattern - Lesson 3

Well, I am back with Fur Friday lesson three - Cutting out your pattern.

To start off with you will want to make yourself a very fashionable outfit to wear to protect your clothing from the hair. I have used the suggested garbage bag from Nancy's book! Of course you can have some fun with it and I was at work while cutting out this pattern and not in my studio so I wanted to give my outfit a bit of pizzazz! I cut out a semi circle for my head to go through and two for my arms and then took the cut out pieces and made myself a little flower for my hair. We also got an old extension cord and I used that as a belt! heehee Our customers thought I looked very sweet!



Next: A VERY IMPORTANT STEP ~ at least with seal


CHECK THE FUR FOR SKIN TAGS! I unfortunately did not know these existed and had already cut a whole piece when I realized there was something hard in the fur. When I tried to pull it out it left a hole!




I suggest running your fingers through the fur, pushing down on the back of the pelt to find these so that you can avoid cutting these areas into your bear!


Make sure to circle on the backing any areas you find that are torn or have skin tags so that you do not lay your pattern on these areas!


Next I laid my pattern out making sure all the pelts and patterns were laid out with the nap going the correct direction! In my case the pelts are very large and so there were only a very few times that I had to even cross a seam. I imagine this will make for easier sewing in the end. I also chose to do my bears (2 and possibly 3) in the sizes of 12" and 14". It was surprising how much fur there actually was!



Then it was time to cut the pattern out. Cut it the same way you would any other fabric with a long nap like mohair, alpaca or plush. Use nice sharp pointed short scissors and pull up on the backing slightly so that you don't cut the fur and only cut the leather or backing.



If you look close you will see makings that I scratched out! This was only done on this one piece and occurred because of finding the skin tag so I had to retrace my pattern in a different position and did not want to waste the fur so I traced a smaller piece of my bear pattern in the area. When on rare occasions that this happens I wiggle line out where I don't want to cut so I don't mistakenly cut the wrong line!


In the end, I had very little fur that fell out of the edges etc... I used to work with hair as a hairdresser so this was less hair than single haircut. For me this was not worth wearing the garbage bag for but I am sure when we get to using the fox coat with the thick undercoat and long guard hairs the bag will be essential!



DO NOT STORE YOUR COAT IN PLASTIC! Even your left over fur should not be in plastic or your pattern pieces that you have already cut out! I am using a few old pillow cases for mine for now.