Saturday, September 18, 2010

Don't Cry Over Spilled Coffee ... Cake


I made this one for my branch manager's birthday. Her husband works for Energen (AlaGasCo), and she never drinks from anything other than her Energen coffee mug. I thought it would make a nice personal touch.

I defaulted to my French vanilla batter with buttercream icing for this one. If I could do it over, I'd probably do a coffee cake with a hazelnut buttercream icing.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Oops!


So I sort of fell behind uploading the cakes I've been doing. I'm either modest or just plain honest, but I really don't think they've been that jaw-dropping or amazing, but I suppose it's all a matter of opinion.

Since I don't want to bombard with a post full of photos, I'll try to upload one a day until I get caught up. I think there's 4 or 5 cakes to update on, so it won't take too long.

The first up is a dinosaur birthday cake for a friend. Apparently she has this little guy on her office desk or computer desktop at work. I'm not sure which, but it was fun to make nonetheless.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Graduation Cake


Another cake under my belt. I'm not too impressed with the outcome of this cake, but my client really liked it. The true test will come after they taste it tonight. I tried another cake type--box this time; French vanilla--so I'm anxious to see how it turned out. I should know Monday, though, so we'll see!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Another first


I made my first Wilton rose! Ok, so it's more of a cross between a chrysanthemum and a carnation, and it's actually my second one, but still, I made it! They're really not that hard if you just follow the directions. Nonetheless, I was pretty excited.

My mother--who passed all of her cake decorating materials and books down to me--has never been able to make one, so I'm going to show her next time I visit her or the next time she comes this way.

And in case you're wondering, they do taste delicious. I ate the first one because it fell off of the nail and went splat on the counter.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Baby Shower


It looks like all of my posts are starting to deal with cakes. Are you hungry yet?

I made my first cake from scratch this time around. I used a chocolate cake recipe from one of my baking books. As always, I made the buttercream icing from scratch. I made a dummy cake yesterday to test the recipe out, and it turned out really well. The flavor is rich, and the cake is very moist. I suppose bad recipes generally don't make it to published books.

This is also my first baby shower cake. One of my coworkers is pregnant, but she's about to transfer to another branch. So, we're throwing a little baby shower/going away lunch for her at the branch tomorrow since it's going to be her final day.

Bon appetite!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lemonless Lemon Cake

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I made this cake for a coworker's birthday before I left for vacation. She hates lemons, so I thought it would be fun to make her a lemon cake--but without any lemon flavoring. It's a yellow cake with vanilla-flavored buttercream icing. I was going to try my first almond buttercream icing, but my almond extract apparently spilled out in the cabinet and was absorbed into the wood. Sad times, I know. There will be other chances, though.

I wish I had done the "flesh" of the fruit darker than I did; there wasn't much contrast between the fruit and the white rind. Nonetheless, I feel it turned out well enough for an amateur.

Until next time, bon appetite!

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Happy 4th (Belated)

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So this is rather late, but hey, better late than never, right?

I baked and decorated a cake for my branch for the 4th of July. It turned out fairly well and tasted absolutely phenomenal (if I do say so myself).

I'm posting the development of the cake. Far too often people just put up before and after and leave out the fun--and not so fun--steps inbetween. Guilty as charged, but I wanted to do something different this time around.

Enjoy, and as always, feel free to comment.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

The Infamous Kitchen












I designed this kitchen during my Interior Design as a Business course during my junior year in college. It originally measured in as roughly 1600 square feet, which I received much criticism over; it's since been reduced to roughly 600 square feet--still entirely too large for a dining room and kitchen, I'm sure, but I know I enjoy large spaces to entertain guests, and that's exactly who my "client" was.

Regardless, I present to you some rough images from the sketches. I fully intend on adding the finishing touches at some point soon--the dishes, the glasses, the artwork, the table decor, etc. The counterstools still need to be refined and given some definition, and the island still requires some attention--mainly a panel to cover the rear of the appliances. The dining room table is of my own custom design.

Enjoy, and as always, comments and criticism are welcome.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

So here's the plan

I think I'll upload a photograph a day. It might be a photo of a place from a shoot or it might be a shot of a painting or scan of a sketch I've done. Either way, I'd like to start sharing with the world. It's time to start cultivating my roots.

That having been said, the photos from this weekend's shoot didn't come out quite as well as I had hoped. There's some sort of line going across the film. Whether it was a developing error or a film error, it's something that I'm going to try to correct. Lord knows I'm gonna have some time on my hands until these widsom teeth wounds heal. Until the photos are polished, I'm going to post their raw forms anyway.

I'm no professional, but I do welcome criticism. Be as harsh as you can/want to. One can only learn and grow if their imperfections are made aware to them.

[crf]

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Oh, hi

So apparently I forgot that I had a blog. Oops. :)

I went on a photo shoot with my friend Marcus this past weekend. I'm looking at uploading the photos to something like Flickr but am still doing some "shopping around" about which is the best site for that. I may just upload them here for the time being, even though I only have one follower. ;) :: waves to follower ::

[crf]

Monday, November 23, 2009

Regions Riverchase Complex

Photo 1: Exterior of the Regions Operation Center (aka the ROC) for Regions Bank in Birmingham, Alabama.

Photo 2: The main lobby for the ROC.

Photo 3: The view from the bridge cafe nestled between the north and south buildings.

Photo 4: According to a woman walking by, this is, "The ugliest Christmas tree." Apparently they get worse each year. I don't think it's too bad, personally.

[crf]

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kitchen Face Lift




Project number 3 has been a kitchen update. There's been some serious labor poured into this project. For the record, the genius who invented the idea of wallpaper is fortunate that we didn't live in the same time period. That's all I'm going to say.

The process:
1. The remaining wallpaper had to be stripped. I started out using a steamer but didn't get satisfactory results. I saw on HGTV that you can spray a vinegar/water solution onto the wallpaper and let it soak for a couple of minutes for easy removal. While it did remove the wallpaper much easier, I should not that you can receive optimal results by lightly scoring the wallpaper. Be careful not to apply too much pressure; you WILL damage the drywall.

2. Using steam to remove the wallpaper inadvertantly removed some sections of the drywall as well, a problem which needed to be resolved before painting could begin. I used a spackle that goes on pink and dries white. This is a double win. First, you can easily see if you've patched an area already when you're dealing with exposed drywall--which is also obviously white--and second, it gives you an easy indication when the surface is ready for a second application.

3. This was easily the messiest part of the project. Once the spackle had dried completely, the sanding process began. Purchase plastic drop cloths to cover all case openings into the space--they're not expensive at all and they'll keep dust from traveling to other areas in the space. Also make sure that you wear both eye protection and a dust mask. Also, make sure that you wear both eye protection and a dust mask. Yes, I said it twice. The point needs to be driven. I started by just sanding the spackles areas, but then I realized that the sanding brick also would remove some of the leftover glue residue from the wallpaper. So alas, I sanded the walls from ceiling to floor. Needless to say, I looked OLD from all of the dust.

4. Once the sanding was finished, I used a wet rag to remove the excess dust from the walls and trimwork and swept up the dust that had fallen onto the floor. Wiping the walls gives the paint a surface to actually adhere to--which is why you sanded in the first place!

5. With the walls prepped, then came the pre-painting tape-off. I'm obsessive compulsive when it comes to preventing a mess and keeping things crisp, so I take my time applying painter's tape. Always keep in mind the scope of your project, however. Had I remembered that I'm also going to paint the trim and doors of the kitchen, I would've realized that it was ok to get paint on the trim. The cabinets and counters, however, did need to be outlined.

6. The first coat went down. I used a bristled brush to apply the outline. To prevent brush lines from appearing, you can "feather out" the paint. This just means using the brush to go beyond the stroke marks and blend the paint seamlessly into the wall. Brush strokes are your enemy. I then used a brush roller to fill in the rest. I roll vertically, starting in the middle of the wall and working down then up, but I've also heard that you're supposed to apply diagonally to prevent stroke lines. I didn't notice any line marks, but it's worth noting.

7. The first coat dried and I dropped down the second coat the same way. Trim, feather, roll.

Make sure you give everything time to dry properly. Don't rush yourself or the project, or you'll get rushed results. Also of note, when your walls are damaged like these were, consider using a coat or two of Kilz before applying the paint. The paint I purchased was the primer+paint from Behr, but after two thick coats, the results were--thusfar--satisfactory. The photo was taken while the first coat was drying. It's raining today, so when I return tomorrow to start the trim work, I'll take another photo. The trim will be a crisp white interior latex enamel, also from Behr. Expect photos soon!

I think that's pretty much everything that I was going to say about that. If anything else pops into mind, I'll post. As always, comment, critique, question, b&g.

[crf]

Monday, November 16, 2009

The IKEA clock lives!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Just kidding!

I love going through the media card on my BlackBerry. I found a better shot of my living room--and not from the perspective of a cockroach!

As always, enjoy and critique.

[crf]

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

My old apartment

This is my first attempt at a multi-photo post from la BlackBerry. Work with me here, people.

I present to you the living room from my most recent apartment. I was resting on the floor one day and felt artsy, so ... Voila!

I'm a bit of a minimalist, so even this is a bit much for me. Each move, however, brings me closer and closer to my modernist/minimalist aesthetic that I so long to attain. The next apartment/condo will take it to yet another level--and maybe I'll even be able to paint the walls!

A note for media fanatics: backlighting your flat panel TV while dimming or turning off all other lights in the room not only creates a spectacular visual focus on your television, but it also helps reduce the strain on your eyes that an otherwise pitch-black room would trigger--even though it makes the entire experience more "theatrical." Oh, and don't judge me for watching Smallville. Tom Welling is a fox, and you know it.

Thoughts from your friendly neighborhood designer. Input and criticism are always welcome and encouraged. Take care b&g.

[crf]

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Finished and assembled; currently cooling for first use.

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Refrigerator Reno

So my friend just bought a house, and one of the appliances that he's been lacking was the refrigerator. His mother had one for him, which he drove to Tennessee to pick up today. All of his other appliances are black; this fridge is almond. So what's a designer to do?

That's right. Break out the paint cans, painter's tape, and brushes!

This was my first time both working with an appliance and working with oil-based paint. I'll walk you through it.

- Used a sand block--fine grain--to sand down the existing surfaces to both get rid of scuff marks and debris and to give the paint a surface to adhere to
- Used a sponge-based roller brush designed for cabinets and doors to apply the paint; it worked much better than I thought it would
- Used one of my artist brushes to apply the paint to the smaller cracks, crevices, nooks, and crannies

I'm not sure if it's a quality of oil-based paints or if the brush was just awesome, but the paint really seemed to self-level itself out, making brush strokes impossible to detect. It'll definitely take two coats because of the texture of the refrigerator, but after just one, it looks a thousand times better; you'd never know just how ancient it really is unless you Googled the model number (which I MAY have accidentally painted over; oops!).

Once the entire unit is reassembled, I'll take a final photo. I just hope the thing actually works! We'll see soon enough.

[crf]

First coat drying; you're welcome

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

First coat, door 1

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Door 1 sanded and prepped for tape/paint

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Coat no. 1 on the test side

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Refrigerator Renovation



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And this is the Hancock Building ...



Haha. I know, it's the Sears Tower. The poor tour guide ...

As we approached from this angle, she turned and said, "And now we're approaching the infamous Hancock Tower." Everyone on the boat was just like, "Uh, excuse me?" Good times.

Chicago, 2008. Neocon.

[crf]