The first pic up there was taken on my porch this morning (thank you, landlord, for the brand new turquoise paint!), the second last night in my apartment with the same crummy camera phone. What a difference good lighting makes!
I went to Hobby Lobby tonight and bought my very first pastry bag and decorating tip (1M, if you were wondering). I was going for a rose design, but the buttercream I made was really gritty and un-buttercream-like, more sugar cube-like due to my failed attempt at homemade powdered sugar and I think that made for a sup-par buttercream to make fancy patterns with. Better luck (and buttercream, hopefully) next time. I can't wait to buy more tips! I opted for a reusable bag so I won't have to keep buying (and wasting) more. I'm on the lookout for a great vegan buttercream frosting that holds shape well. If you have the recipe, let me know. Oh, and I used the chocolate cake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and the vanilla buttercream recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking (which I'm sure is a great recipe when using real powdered sugar).