Em’s Horrible Histories Party Part 2

Em’s parties are the stuff of legend at Quirky Towers.  This year’s theme was Horrible Histories. You may remember my attempts at making her a dress for the party. Well we had a great time, with lots of history inspired crafts from Yellow Moon, history games invented by Em and the usual themed baking from the Quirky Kitchen.

Here are some of my favourite photos from the day.  Apologies for the lack of quality – we were too busy having fun!

Roman Empress Hannah, WWII Mummy and Restoration Princess Emily

The wrap the mummy game – great for Halloween parties too.

What else could you possibly eat other than Pepys Pizza – pizza in the shape of Samuel Pepys face!

Personalised Horrible Histories Cookies

Horrible Histories Wax Seal Cookies

Of course there had to be cookies!

The cake had scenes from the Great Fire of London, topped with Charles II holding a bottle of champagne as a nod to the Mathew Baynton in the Horrible Histories Charles II song.

Great Fire of London / Charles II Cake

Party anyone?


HotCan Cake

Every now and again I get a commission which I really, really enjoy making. Recently, I was approached by Amber Locke of Derbyshire Life magazine and Bear PR who asked if I could make a replica of a HotCan tin.

HotCan are a locally based company who make self-heating cans. The geek in me absolutely loves how these cans work, and so I was thrilled to be asked to make the cake.

There’s some more great photos on the HotCan Facebook page. I especially love the “Angry Chef” photo with the cake instead of the original can.

Thanks to HotCan and Amber for a really fun commission.

Em’s Party Part 1

This year, inspired by a school topic on the Great Fire of London and Horrible Histories on CBBC, Em has requested a Charles II themed party. Preparations are now well underway, and so I found myself sat at the kitchen table last week, pondering on how to adapt a witches costume pattern to a restoration style dress.

I knew the witch costume was do-able, as I’d made that dress for H some 9 years ago.

Witch Hannah
W Staples 2003

Here she is wearing it, being all mean and witchy.

The bodice design was easy to adapt.  I simply changed the angle of the ribbon detailing and added a triangular lace overlay. Unfortunately, in my haste I forgot to add an allowance for the seam joining the bodice to the skirt, hence the rather cut off triangle shape.

copyright W Staples 2012

The original witches dress design had overlay over all of the skirt, but after a quick look at some google images and my history books I decided to leave a front opening with the overlay as this seemed to be the prevailing style.  After a bit of searching around the house for a suitable circle shaped something with which to adapt the pattern, I settled on our lounge rug!

Full sleeves are, as yet, a bit beyond my abilities, so I decided to keep the original sleeve pattern, but substitute the original full sleeve overlay for a gathering of the overlay material at the end of the sleeves.  This was more in keeping with the style of the period, if not completely authentic as the sleeve shape itself wasn’t quite right.

Then Em suddenly brought out this dress…

image copyright W Staples 2012

I realised that if I did a simple dart then I could get the puffiness I was after in the sleeve like this….

Sleeve Detail
copyright W Staples 2012

After that, it was a simple job of sewing the hems on the skirt and putting it altogether.

Emily wearing her finished dress
Copyright W Staples 2012

Now, sewing is a hobby for me. It’s one which I enjoy, but I’m not very proficient in, especially when comparing myself to such great friends as LoveHector, Housley & Co., HWR Designs and KittyEden. But I had a go.  All in all the dress took me around 8-10 hours to make, and was a fabulous distraction from H’s exams.  Em was very pleased with the finished dress, and really, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Tardis Cake

Another year has passed more quickly than I care to admit, and so last week included the task of baking Hannah’s 15th birthday cake.

I had planned a wonderful surprise for her of a cake complete with electronics and lots of other fun cakey stuff, but all hell broke loose at the beginning of the week, and so there I was on the morning of her birthday with only the base icing done. Best laid plans eh?

Matt Smith was the obvious choice for the Doctor, as he is her favourite incarnation. The assistant is Hannah in typical teenage slouched-against-something-with-her-arms-folded fashion.  One light for the top of the Tardis was all I could manage in the end, but we did at least get that.  The sombrero is a family in-joke from a fabulous storyline idea Hannah had months ago. (She was gutted to be too old to enter the recent script writing competition.) I’m biased of course, but if perchance any Dr Who peeps may read this post (in my dreams!) then seriously, Hannah is bursting to tell someone her idea.

I’m the first to say it’s not the best Tardis cake I’ve ever done: we tried a few different techniques which were less than successful, but given the time I had to make it I was pretty chuffed.  Onwards to Emily’s 7th birthday.  At the moment she wants a street scene from the Great Fire of London.  I’m already thinking about smoke!

Tardis Cake
Photograph Copyright Wendy Staples