Friday, December 30, 2011

Display props - it's all smoke and mirrors.

Yet another late blog post! This post was supposed to go up before Christmas in answer to two comments that I received about props that were made for the display. My apologies go out to Caroline and Wendy. Click on each picture for a better look.

I received this comment when I first published photos of the Hillside Shopping Centre Christmas window display -

"I too love images of cakes and pastries and jellies from the Edwardian era. When I saw the first image on another blog I thought it was from a book of that era! Did you use plaster to make the cakes? I do a gingerbread/candy display in my kitchen for Christmas and would love to make a faux cake.  Thanks, Carolyn."

Carolyn, I hope that you are reading this blog post. I do apologize for not posting this earlier, sickness and the busy season delayed everything. Better late than never I suppose. Can you tell what blog that you saw this image on? I would love to see what they said.

I used paper pulp to create the summer window display cakes and pastries. It was labour intensive to create the moulded cakes and it also took a while for them to dry. It is very wet on the West Coast in the Autumn, Winter, and Spring so that was not an option. I would have taken far too long to produce them as well.

I decided to buy as many cake and jelly moulds I could find at the second hand stores to create the cakes. I washed the moulds in order to get rid of any grease that may be on them and then spray painted them with flat white spray paint. I mixed about seven different colours of artist acrylic paints and then began painting the tin moulds. Some colours, yellow and green in particular, needed several coats of paint in order to get an even rich colour.

Once the basic iced cakes were painted and dry I drizzled white or chocolate brown paint from a plastic squeeze bottle to hide paint edges as well as make them more interesting to look at.

This photo was taken for a blog post to show what the cakes would possibly look like when finished.

All of the cake stands were created using wooden pillar candle holders and wooden plates of various sizes and shapes. I didn't want to use glass cake stands in case anything fell over and broke. I also wanted specific colours to tie in with everything else.

The finished cakes in the window display. All of the flat surfaces on the cakes were covered with coloured gravel. I did this for several reasons, the first and most important was to hide the joins where I hot glued the metal moulds together. I also wanted to have a different texture on the cakes, it also gave quick added detail to the prop cakes.

I have a large group of candies that I made a couple of years ago for some items that I never did make but hope to in the future. I placed these around the cakes so that they appeared much more elaborate than they actually were.

These small cakes were made from 4" wide cardboard cylinders cut about 3" to 4" high. Cardboard was glued to the top of the cylinders. I collect cardboard tubes of all diameters and lengths for projects like this.

I mixed a  modelling compound with the white acrylic paint and used a palette knife to apply the paint. Once the paint was dry I glued coloured glass glitter at the base of the cakes. Each cake is decorated with vintage milliners fruit on a base of green grass chenille.

Wendy Kolar Mullen sent me a message on Facebook -

I LOVE the Giant Peppermint Sticks!! What did you use to make those? Very clever...the display is Gorgeous...fantastic job...sure to delight many Holiday shoppers :0)

Here is how I created the giant candy sticks, cardboard cylinders and fused edge acetate florist ribbon. This method is quick and easy, no paint involved and the results are far superior as the edges are crisp and clean.

The base colour, your choice, is a 3" wide fused edge acetate florist ribbon wrapped around the cylinder. Most cylinders are spiral wrapped so follow the direction of the spiral and you won't have any bumps showing in the ribbon. Put a piece of tape on the end of the ribbon stuff the ribbon end inside the tube and firmly tape the it in place.

The second ribbon is a 1 1/2" ribbon that wraps around the cylinder overlapping the base ribbon edges, hiding them. Tape the ends and push them in the ends firmly taping them down.

From this point you can add one or two more ribbons. These ribbons can be 1/4" to 3/4" wide, wrapped around the cylinder. The ends are attached exactly the same as before.

Cap the ends with a piece of white card glued in place. Wrap the candy sticks with cellophane, tying each end with a narrow wired ribbon, leaving a tuft of cellophane at each end. That's all there is to making the candy sticks.

That beautiful fur covered chair in the window was the chair from the Spring window display. It was stripped of it's flowers and looks like this inside!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Adobe Pumpkin Farm

This blog post was supposed to go up before Hallowe'en, that didn't happen. After getting back from Hallowe'en and Vine I had to tidy my studio somewhat so that I could build props for the Hillside Shopping Centre Christmas Window. Enough with the tap dancing preamble, as a member of EHAG I can very easily justify this blog post at this time of year!

Late Sunday morning, the next day after the Hallowe'en and Vine show, Amelia Schaefer, Tracey Dombroski, Lori Rudolph, and myself went to The Adobe Pumpkin Farm on our way down to San Francisco.

This jaunty scarecrow greeted you as you came into the farm from the parking lot.

The three musketeers, Lori, Tracey, and Amelia. 

There were piles of different squash and pumpkins, all of which I photographed. Even though it is winter and just after Christmas I am going to show you all of these beautiful vegetables as a very late "Ode to Autumn".

The colour variation that is evident when you see a nice big pile of one variety is intriguing.

I have no idea what any of the squash are named. I love the powdery look on the outside of this particular squash.

This is the entrance to "The Farmer's Wife Barntique". They provided all of the artists at Hallowe'en and Vine with a much appreciated goody bag.

Mid to deep oranges, peach with creamy buff warts, and a knobbly deep green squash, the colours and textures are so interesting.

A simple shape and pattern but the colour variation is amazing.

Small pumpkins ranging in shades from a lemony yellow to a rich orange.

I had to include this quintessential farm picture.

The faint lemon yellow blush on the mini white pumpkins is very unexpected.

These squash are stunning, absolutely gorgeous. The colours, the textures, the patterns, I could go on and on and on... but I will spare you.

These white pumpkins vary in colour from a very pale grey to a very pale creamy white.

Outdoor window ledge vignette number one.

These squash are stunning, absolutely gorgeous. The colours, the textures, the patterns, I could go on and on and on... but I will spare you.

Outdoor window ledge vignette number two

The vine imprints and the scarring give these pumpkins great character.

Outdoor window ledge vignette number three.

Oh boy, here I go again.... the colour, the shapes... can you tell that I am totally in love with squash and pumpkins?

Outdoor window ledge vignette number four.

These would make some very interesting Jack-o-lanterns.

Gourds of all shapes, sizes, textures, and colours.

Well here is my "Ode to Autumn" blog post. It was about 2 1/2 months overdue but I hope that you enjoyed it.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone

Well, it has been a very hectic pre-Christmas. I was sick for a week and it kept hanging on ever since. Not much got done. Christmas Eve and it is finally done! HAHAHA!!!! I love this time of year, we are all in it together. Here are some pictures of our home all decorated for the holidays.

The tree and some of the living room. We have used these ornaments for the last 36 years, all unbreakable. The glass ones don't get put up because we don't have the room to display them where people won't knock into them.

The edge of my computer desk has a small display. you can see some of my vintage Santas in behind behind.

This year I decided to put up some of my boxed Christmas lights, boxed tree trims and light bulbs. Amongst all of the boxes are vintage trees and more vintage and antique Santas

 We usually put a village on the buffet but this year I wanted to do something a little simpler and totally different. I found an ice scene table runner with polar bears on it so that set the theme of a winter snow scene. Christmas Day all of the bowls will be filled with cookies and the snow scene cake stand will have tarts and cookies on it.

The top shelf of the buffet aways has this antique chromolithographed nativity scene. After all if it wasn't for the birth of Jesus Christ there wouldn't be any holiday to celebrate.

The tree on the left is decorated with celluloid ornaments and the tree on the right is decorated with chenille Santas, candy canes, and all sorts of chenille figures.

Every year we cover the ceiling with vintage Chinese and Japanese lanterns and garlands.

Finally the little china cabinet decorated with milk glass vases filled with vintage glass spikes.

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone. I have some other posts that were going to go up before Christmas and never made it so between Boxing Day and New Years Eve I will try to post them.