I recently saw lots of cute pictures in pinterest with rounded edges. Although I’ve known this has existed I never had the desire to learn how to adjust pictures to have this. All these beautifully edited pictures enticed me and a quick search on google resulted in me discovering this quick tutorial on how to do it in photoshop.
I took a mini vacation with Hubster this past weekend to NYC, which was fun and relaxing. While there we stumbled past Ladurée, a French pastry shop on Madison Avenue and decided to check them out. There was a long line up for it, which made us even more determined to get some macarons and compare them to our beloved Nadège macarons. I must say that their presentation and branding alone is incredibly beautiful and it’s hard not to fall in love with them just for that. The macarons themselves are tasty as well, and you can really taste the fruits in some of them. I personally prefer the style of Nadège but the Ladurée are a close second.
I attended a photoshop workshop yesterday that was run by a not-for-profit Toronto based group run by four women who provide affordable workshops to encourage women to learn more technical skills including learning programming languages and introduction to programs such as photoshop. This was my first workshop through them, which was just over $50 with tax, and ran from 10am to 5pm. We had a bit of a late start because of a room issue, so the beginning was a little fast paced and rushed since the instructor was trying to catch us up. It also got noisy at times when people were getting their questions answered by the teaching assistants (all volunteers), so it was hard to follow along with the instructor.
Overall though it was a good workshop and I learned quite a bit. We also worked on Macs, so for those who were used to PCs it was a bit of a challenge for them to orient themselves. I think it’s also good for people to have a look through photoshop before they attend the class since the class didn’t have a basic intro to the photoshop program itself. Since I already use photoshop frequently and I work on a Mac it was much easier for me to keep up with the lesson.
I also learned about a couple of cool websites:
- Google Webfonts: free downloadable fonts
- Kuler: Web theme colours
There were three things that we learned how to do.
1. Create a custom background for our twitter page
2. Edit a profile picture
3. Create a custom cover for our Facebook timeline
I think these were great projects since not everyone has a blog, but most people use facebook and twitter. The projects were simple and really relavant, but the skills I learned for each can be applied to many things I do with photo editing and website design. So far I’ve been using pre-made layouts for this blog and I think now I have a better chance of making my own images and working on a new layout. I’m really exicted. Hopefully I’ll be able to do that soon and roll it out in the summer. Stay tuned!
A bunch of friends decided to have a Valentine’s Day potluck this weekend and I thought it was a perfect opportunity to use my heart shaped cake pan. I decided to try my hand at a red velvet cake, which would be a first for me. I used the recipe listed below, which was incredibly easy to follow. I decided to frost it with cream cheese frosting and then used a heart shaped cookie cutter to create a red heart on top. I hadn’t planned on it but I ended up making a cake that looks like the heart containers in Zelda. I was so happy because I LOVE playing Zelda games. Sadly only a few people at the party got the reference, but they still liked the cake itself.
I learned a few things while making this cake:
Lining the bottom of the pan with parchment paper works better than buttering the pan. You will get a cake with a perfect bottom and won’t have to worry about it breaking when you try to get it out.
Mixing the vinegar with baking soda to create the bubbling chemical reaction and then adding it to the batter will create a fluffier cake.
Wrapping a string of floss around the cake and pulling it through is an easier way of slicing a cake in half than using a knife. Just make sure it’s not flavoured floss otherwise you’ll get a minty tasting cake.
Remember that a red velvet cake is supposed to be a soft, moist cake that has a slight taste of cocoa. The buttermilk gives it a moist texture but you must also make sure not to over mix the batter, otherwise it will turn out hard and dense. I used the recipe from this video as a basis for what I did.
- 2-1/2 cups of cake flour (I used sifted all-purpose flour)
- 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1-1/2 Tbsp. red food coloring
- 1 cup melted butter
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. white vinegar
- 1 tsp. baking soda
1. Sift the flour, cocoa, and salt together in a medium sized bowl.
2. In a measuring cup mix buttermilk and food colouring together.
3. Cream sugar and butter together. Mix in vanilla and eggs.
4. Mix in 1/3 of flour mixture until fully mixed in.
5. Mix in 1/3 of buttermilk mixture until fully mixed in.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until everything has been mixed together. Do not combine steps 4 and 5 into one step.
7. In a separate small bowl combine baking soda and vinegar. Add bubble mixture to batter and stir in with a spatula.
8. Line the bottom of the baking pan with parchment paper and butter the sides of the pan.
9. Pour in batter. Lift pan over counter about 2″ and drop on counter to release any trapped air in batter.
10. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until a toothpick pierced into the centre of cake comes out clean.
11. Cool for an hour and then flip over on a plate. Remove parchment paper from bottom and turn cake right side up.
12. Use a long piece of unflavoured floss or string to cut cake in half, as shown in this video.
13. Frost bottom half of cake. Put top layer back on and frost the rest of the cake.
14. Place a heart shaped cookie cutter on top of cake in the centre and fill with red sprinkles.
15. Take cookie cutter off slowly and adjust frosting. Remove any stray sprinkles on cake.
Last month we celebrated Día de Reyes (King’s Day) with my Meican co-worker who brought back a rosca de reyes from Mexico. The rosca de reyes is a sweet bread in the shape of an oval donut that has three plastic figurines of a baby Jesus. Traditionally families will get together on January 6 and cut the rosca de reyes together. Everyone gets to cut the bread and whoever gets a slice with a figurine in it has to throw a Tamales Party (Día de la Candelaria) on Feb 2. The reasoning behind the baby Jesus in the bread is to symbolize how baby Jesus was hid while King Herod tried to have him killed as a child. There are three figurines to symbolize the three wise men, even though it’s a myth that there were only three. Everyone assumes that there were three wise men, but the Bible only mentions three gifts, so there could have been several men.
So a bunch of coworkers got together to celebrate with our coworker because this was the first time she wasn’t doing it with her family. Well guess what happened to me. I was the first to cut the bread and I cut right into a baby Jesus. It was pretty hilarious. The bread is so big that it’s such a small probability that it would happen, but it did.
Today myself and the two other coworkers who got the remaining two baby Jesus figurines threw our Tamales Party, but we had enchiladas instead of tamales because they were cheaper. Everyone still loved them though and it was fun to have a follow-up Mexican party. This is one of the beauties of working in Toronto. There are so many cultures surrounding each other and the opportunities to learn about them is endless.
Here are some pictures from the event. The food was delicious and the company was fabulous.