Before whipping your cream, place your beaters or mixer attachment, and your mixing bowl into a freezer for about 15 minutes to allow them to cool.
In a microwave safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water. Stir, and allow to "bloom". This takes about 5 minutes.
Microwave the gelatin mixture for 10 seconds. It will become a liquid versus the solid shape it had been (looks like ugly jello!). Stir to make sure everything is dissolved.
In your chilled mixing bowl, begin whipping the cream on a low speed. Add in the powdered sugar, followed by the vanilla. Move to a higher speed and watch for good peaks to begin to form.
Once the whipping cream is starting to peak, switch back to a lower speed and slowly drizzle the melted liquid gelatin mixture in. Once it's in, switch back to a higher speed and continue to beat until it's reached stiff peaks.
Place in piping bags and pipe shapes, or ice your cake. You can also place in the fridge for a few hours before using, but you may have to thaw a few minutes to get it to be more manageable.
Once you've iced your item, place in a fridge to hold it's shape, or serve immediately.