Applying art to real life (or Crafting a birthday party)

25 02 2014

So, some of you might be aware that I have two little boys and that my youngest just turned one. I was chatting a few days ago with my friend Pierre Carles and he asked me to document everything in photos for the creative folks like him. So I did, and this post is written specially for him.
As usual I started thinking of a theme, because that helps me focus and choose a palette. For my first child I chose pandas and a palette based on three colors, and we had a lovely party outdoors. Since my little baby’s birthday is in winter, and what a winter we had this year! we had to do everything indoors, and our apartment is smallish, so I would not have a lot of room to play. Because of this, I decided early that I was going to use the food itself as decoration and to bring in some color to the place (we rent, our walls are too white).

So the theme was frogs, my kids love frogs and they are fun, right? And then I thought “hey, frogs and lily pads go together!” so frogs and lily pads it was. I spent some time looking at cupcakes online and deciding on what colors to use. I chose green and light blue (because of the water).

cupcake tower with #1 candle.

cupcake tower with #1 candle.

So, frog cupcakes: my design, easy stuff, I used glace (confectioner sugar and water) and green food coloring, I used green Wilton candy melts for the eyes and candy eyes that I glued with royal icing, I cut a red candy melt in half for the mouths.

Happy frogs (next time I'll get better quality liners)

Happy frogs (next time I’ll get better quality liners)

For the lily pad cupcakes I followed the instructions here, I made my own yellow sugar using these instructions (beware, you do not get edible glitter, just colored sugar!) I used blue icing instead of white, to give a water look, green would have worked for the leaf idea.

These impressed all the moms!

These impressed all the moms!

Then I made flower lily pads with a flower cookie cutter and a large circle cookie cutter, I took a segment off of it. I later decorated them with royal icing, and placed the flower on top of the leaf.

place one cookie on top of the other to give a dimensional effect!

place one cookie on top of the other to give a dimensional effect!

As I was doing all this, my dad was helping blowing balloons, I asked him to make groups of three balloons and use curling ribbon to give a dynamic effect. The added the tableware in matching colors, and voila! The place was ready to party!

IMG_6777

The palette was cool, I thought it gave a nice effect in the winter time.

 

I am by  no means a professional, so things did not look super polished, but the kids loved them!





Celebrating March: Mardi Gras Meringues, or perhaps St. Patrick’s, and Easter too!

8 03 2011

Each year, my husband’s coworkers throw a Mardi Gras potluck. Since I am a like satellite of his working break room, passing by a couple of times a week for lunch, I usually contribute to the foodism. This year I decided to make meringues, and since it is a Mardi Gras thing I threw in some colors to fit the occasion.

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For the meringue You will need:

2 egg whites at room temperature

Mardi Gras Meringue (c) Constanza Ehrenhaus

 

 

1/2 cup sugar

pinch of salt

pinch of tartar cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

food coloring.

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For the filling:

Whipped cream and dulce de leche (similar to a caramel spread, but better!)

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Separate the egg whites and let them sit for some minutes until they reach room temperature. Start whisking with a fork and once they get foamy you can pass to the electric mixer. Add the salt and tartar cream and keep beating. Once the whites start to mount add the sugar slowly, if you do not wait until the whites are mounting they will become creamy but never stiff enough. Add the vanilla extract and beat until the whites form firm peaks.

Separate the whites in three equal parts, placing them in three different bowls. Add food coloring to each of them. You will need yellow, green (blue+yellow) and purple (blue+red). Mix until well integrated.

Place aluminium foil on a cookie sheet with the shiny side up. With a desert spoon scoop a spoonful of colored whites and place them on the aluminium foil. Bake at 200F (90C very low oven) for 2 hours. Turn the oven off and let them cool in the oven one hour. You can prop the door open with a wooden spoon.

Once they are dry and cool you can take two pieces and paste them together with whipped cream or dulce de leche. Place in an air tight container and enjoy!

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Looking at the photo, they look more like an Easter/Spring celebration thing, but egg whites tend to turn everything to pastels and I was afraid of adding too much coloring and starting to feel the flavor of it.

You can modify the colors to have a St. Patrick’s desert (green meringue and gold cream), spring or Easter (add also blues and pinks), or anything you fancy!