Filter Forge

I have some time to play for a few days and felt a desire to do some Photoshop and play with Filter Forge plug ins that I got for Christmas. This is a Grunge effect and is applied to an old photo I took of Skerries library when I lived there a few years ago.

The filter used here is called Artomatic – this is me with a choppy, textured haircut…¬† I’m thinking of going back to it. Look kind of sad or possibly haunted here! Probably in the middle of something fairly geeky and having to look up for a quick pic.

And finally, for now, one of the famous Skerries mills. The filter used to render this one is called Dabber.

Filter Forge is very powerful and, though not quick to render, produces some fantastic effects from the subtle, to the quite pronounced effects, I’ve used here.

Finally

It is done. It’s very late considering I made the cake back in August. Still, it will be beautifully mature and rich. The icing was slathered on this morning and the panels arranged around the cake. There should have been more if only the gingerbread hadn’t been so nicey.

The house on top is too big and next year I’ll scale it down a bit. The icing doesn’t look professional and considering I had a square-bottomed freezer bag with the corner cut off as my ‘nozzle’ it’s hardly surprising.

I cut far too many corners trying to do it quickly but does it matter? Bettys won’t be running from the competition any time soon, lol. It is cute and it is GOOD. Full of gorgeous fruits and brandy-rich ingredients.

Once again, Happy New Year!

Gingerbread pieces lessons learned!

The various panels of gingerbread have been piped with icing with some¬† bits and pieces to have a little flood filling but there’s really not much of that to do. The large panels and trees will go around the cake. Next year I’ll make a square cake and that will make life easier… until then, however…

There are some smaller pieces that will comprise a house to sit on top of the cake – you’ll see in the diagram from the last post which pieces they are. That will get done tomorrow when I finally ice the bloody cake. You can see it in the top right of the picture – it’s marzipanned and sitting on a silver cake board just waiting…

Never mind. It will get done and am sure it will have a charm of its own and be pleasing to the eye. There were several lessons learned in the making of this gingerbread, namely:

  1. Do not use molasses sugar in the gingerbread mix – it doesn’t dissolve in molten butter and leaves lumps like cowpats in the mix.
  2. Do not use molasses sugar in the mix because it spoils the colour and makes the gingerbread too dark.
  3. Do not bake the gingerbread on foil fused with parchment – it curls up and ruckles the edges of the gingerbread.
  4. Use a piping nozzle – No 2 – in a piping bag and don’t be persuaded to snick the end off a freezer bag to make do because you can’t be arsed to dig out the tub of icing equipment.
  5. Check the consistency of the icing by test piping on anything before you start on the gingerbread.
  6. I know I said to mark out the design by pricking through paper, etc, but really, actually make the effort to do it. I didn’t and made it all up as I went along. Would have been so much easier if I’d made myself some guidelines.
  7. There is absolutely NOTHING to stop you from taking a sharp knife and trimming the gingerbread to sharpen the definition of the shapes. I wish I had, especially to trim off some slightly burned edges.

All said, though, it wasn’t hard to do but will cut the templates out from quilting plastic for next year and have a sturdier template to cut around.

Some bits of gingerbread did, sadly, get harmed in the making of these panels and pieces. The collateral damage was actually very delicious.

So, a very happy new year to you all from the ghost of Christmas Cake Past! May you all have health, wealth, love and perfect self-expression.

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