I started off making cakes for family and friends before giving up a proper career in favour of playing with sugar full time. Having worked for two bakeries making their wedding and celebration cakes, I am now looking toward world domination with breaks for coffee and chat.
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It's been an amazing time for my old friends, the Blaine Brothers. They wrote, directed and released their first feature film "Nina Forever". Since then, it's been lauded all over the world, winning awards and being championed by reviewers.
Now it's available on Amazon on DVD, Blue-ray or via Streaming services.
Go to: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nina-Forever-Abigail-Hardingham/dp/B019J5OK02.
I love this film, it's well worth buying
The amazing Oliver Russell shot it, it's got an an incredible cast, is beautifully designed and styled and will honestly surprise you with it's humour and nuance.
To celebrate the DVD release the directors, Ben and Chris, did a whirlwind tour of the U.K. at selected cinemas with special showings of the film and a Q&A session afterwards. I caught up with them at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton and, of course...brought cake.
Each element relates to a scene in the film. So, starting from the top...
I remember now why I haven't made a tree with sugar for a while.
It's so time consuming!
This was a big tree so I couldn't just cover wire in tape. I used a wooden dowel core for the trunk, then various thicknesses of wire. I covered the whole thing with sugarpaste, which is easier said than done. The paste didn't want to stick to the wire so i had to create a key by heating the wires with a blowtorch, rubbing sugarpaste onto the hot wires so a little melted on and created a crust, then I could stick the paste on.
Please note: Obviously, the waxed tape is flammable, as is the sugar and the wood plus there's a real danger of burning yourself with the hot wires. This is an adult only exercise, with the aid of water, safety equipment and a first aid box handy.
I do not recommend you replicate this!
Nina's grave, complete with daffodils, as per the film.
First I airbrushed a base of green, blue and a little grey.
Then I hand painted graveyard scenes from the film in loose water colours and extruded the "Nina Forever" lettering.
Since Nina was released it's inspired lots of people to produce artworks which they've been sharing with Ben and Chris. One of these that I particularly liked, I reproduced on a plaque. It's not a patch on the original I'm afraid, but still worked very well.
One of the pivotal scenes in the film takes place in a hotel room that has a striking wall with a lake scene on it.
You might have gathered by now that Nina's naked in the film, save for some long tresses, some streaky make up and the blood from her accident. In the scene in the hotel room, Nina ends up sitting blooding on the floor against the back wall.
I airbrushed water, shore and sky, then piped foliage.
I modelled Nina's face, then started adding her red and black make up.
I added the blood by colouring piping gel as it gives a less opaque, "fresher" look than just painting.
She had a skewer inside to hold her upright.
The cake ready for transporting the 2 hours+ to London (minus the tree, which I put on when I got there and with a couple of pins still in place while the royal icing was setting).
It's the bane of my life when I have to set up cakes under halogen down-lighters.
It's such harsh lighting, badly colour balanced, with awful shadows so the cakes either look burned out or really dark in photographs.
It makes perfect cakes look really pedestrian...
but there you are, nothing to be done about it now.
...and anyway, it tasted great!
To the Blaine Brothers, Mr Russell, Imogen Loveday, Ryan Chandler, Mrs Blaine, Alex Mayover, Kevin Williamson and all you other wonderfully talented people involved in Nina, it's amazing, you're amazing, and I'm really proud to be your friend! xxxx
I love when you get a tool great tip and this is my newest favourite...acupuncture needles.
Food safe, strong and much finer than usual pins (especially the large headed ones we need to use in sugarcraft), these are fantastic for getting the air bubbles out of fondant, without leaving those awful pock-marks that catch the eye and ruin the finish on your cake.
I know it's sad, but I was so excited to share this.
Another topper to go to France for a family friend's birthday.
Fleet's birthday co-incided with the newest episode of Star Wars coming out, so what else could I make for this Star Wars fan's birthday but a BB8 topper!
I used a polystyrene ball inside modelling paste for the main body to keep the weight down. I made some lettering to go on the cake as well and dusted everything with a little silvery / grey dusting colour to make it feel more like the style of the film props.
Happy birthday Fleet xxxx
NOTE: These and many other toppers are available in my Etsy shop.