Sunday, 15 April 2012

Heritage Sampler

Myself and several friends have been helping Dacorum Heritage Trust with a project over the last few years.  The Trust have a number of samplers in their collection and they were not being stored as well as they could have been.  They asked us to mount some of the samplers so they could be put on display or used as part of their education programme but the two oldest samplers were too fragile to take out and about.  The Trust managed to secure funding to have them professionally conserved and mounted in order to keep them safe for the future but to enable them to still be useful for educational purposes they asked us to make copies of the samplers.  This involved us in many hours of carefully counting stitches working both from the original sampler and from photographs.  We had to make educated guesses of what should have been there when stitches were missing too.  Today I have stitched the last sampler on to it's board and placed it in it's box ready to go into the Museum Store.  If you want to view either the original sampler(s) or the replicas please get in touch with the Curator . 

This is how to mount an embroidery.

First the board needs to be prepared ready for the sampler.  Measure a piece of acid free mount board and cut to size.  Cover the board with cotton batting and pin in place stretching slightly to smooth out the creases.

At this stage it doesn't look too promising but never fear, it will all work out ok in the end.  When you are happy that you have placed the batting correctly begin to sew across the back using long lengths of thread so that the opposite ends are strung together and the batting is under tension.  Once this is done sew the mitres to neaten them.  (see two photo's below)

Once you have done all this foundation work it's time to repeat the process with the sampler.  Make sure the sampler is clean (if necessary wash it in a weak solution of soap flakes and rinse well) and dry (leave to dry on a clean towel on a flat surface, try not to iron the item unless absolutely necessary).  Begin pinning the sampler onto the batting covered board.  Work from the centre of each side. 

When all the pinning is done turn the sampler over to check that it is centred and that you are happy with the result then begin stringing across the back as before.  

The Trust want to be able to take this sampler into schools as an aid to their Victorian education scheme so I shall back it with a piece of calico so that the stringing doesn't catch on things.  I shall also attach some tape to make it easy to get the sampler out of it's storage box.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Shaun The Sheep?

Sorry, folks.  Another cake decorating session this evening courtesy of the Food Group's Easter tea party tomorrow afternoon.  Given that the theme is Easter I thought I would make some spring lambs using a recipe from the Dr. Oetker website as inspiration.  I found it very difficult to cover the cakes completely in buttercream as it really didn't want to stick to the sponge and when it came to piping the "wool" I couldn't get the buttercream to stay soft enough because the weather has turned a bit chilly so it's quite cold in my kitchen.  Despite these little challenges I'm quite pleased with the end result - fingers crossed they survive till the party.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

This evening I've been on another wonderful cupcake decorating course at Stanley's Store in Bovingdon.  I must just say a big thank you to Sarah for her endless patience and wealth of experience and all the equipment she put at my disposal.  Here are a couple of photo's of tonight's creations.

We used a "grass" nozzle to pipe blue buttercream to make the hair of the Cookie Monster then simply rolled white icing and black icing to make the eyes.  Finally we gave him a mini cookie for him to munch on.     For the rose we coloured a small amount of fondant icing and made a rose by making a sausage shape for the centre then made small petals by squashing little balls of icing in a polythene bag.  A quick blast of lustre spray gives it a bit of a twinkle.

For the roses we coloured some icing then used a silicone mould to make the shape.  We dusted the mould with some cornflour or icing sugar then pushed the icing into it.  We eased the rose out of the mould, trimmed it down and added a bit of sparkle with some iridescent edible glitter.      The daisies were simply made using a three part daisy cutter and a tiny blob of yellow icing for the centre followed by a bit of lustre spray to finish them off.