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Cake Fest… The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

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Cake Fest… you know, the new cake show that popped up on the map in Lafayette, Louisiana this year?  (Well, this past weekend, to be precise.)

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The one that somehow caught on FI-YAH… enticing CRAZY talented cake artists from every corner of the planet to leave their eclectic hobbit holes and congregate together in the spicy, cajun style section of the south, frolicking about over tireless feasts of catfish, gumbo, and boudin?

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Long time friends who’ve been sharing pieces of their hearts with each other over the internet for years, finally getting to meet face to face… hugging, crying, and throwing themselves into bouts of raucous laughter, over and over again.

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Let me tell you… around every new corner, laying eyes on a familiar face that had thus only been seen as a little profile picture on a screen, suddenly appearing before you in real flesh and blood, is NOT something the mind can easily process.

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Yet it is an experience like no other, causing spontaneous smiles, instant joy, and moments where you feel that your heart may just actually burst right inside of your chest.

It was overwhelming… in the best way possible.

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You can know someone “online”, it’s true.  But can you love them the way you do when you finally get to touch them?  To actually SEE them smile at you and HEAR them say your name while doing it?

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Can you really experience their personality, their quirks and their sarcasm… their wit and their mannerisms the way you can while you invade an old fashioned candy store together, late on a Sunday night… or in local restaurant that you’ve all just basically funded for the night, leaving the hostesses gasping for breath and gaping at you like you’ve got three heads when you say, “Woops, make that 1o more people on the way” (when you’ve already got 20 people seated at your table)?

You can’t.  This I now know.

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In a matter of three days, I’ve run the gamut of emotions, forging real friendships (no longer to be labelled as people I only know “online”), having made memories with some of the sweetest, craziest, funniest, and most talented people in the industry… quite possibly on the Earth.

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I worked with some of them, cried with a select few… laughed with almost everyone, and even danced and sang at the top of my lungs with those who had the energy left… and let me tell you, I enjoyed just about every second of my time with each and every one of these crazies.

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I am tired from late nights… I’m mentally exhausted from a whirlwind of activities… my two big toes are still numb from walking everywhere, with everyone, to see everything (I KID YOU NOT)…
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and my cheeks are bruised from the excessive, endless smiling that I just couldn’t contain.

But it was worth it a BILLION times over.

 

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We made some memories that can not be erased with time… and we shared a moment that many may never be blessed with in this lifetime.

My cup runneth over.

 

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That was the good… there WAS no bad… and quite frankly, the only ugly to be had was the first glance each morning in the mirror after the three hours of sleep had each night before.  (Wull, ok… the ugly might’ve extended beyond that first glance, but I’m just gonna pretend that the makeup and hairspray did the trick.  A girl can pretend.)

 

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It was a weekend for the books.  One I will cherish… one that will make me laugh out loud when looked back upon, for most likely the rest of my life.

 

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Oh… and the show was pretty fun, too. ;) Xx

 

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 The finished showpiece that we, as part of the Cake Revolution team, constructed for the show’s theme, “Toys in the Attic”.

We each made several of the vintage toys to bring with us to the show, and all worked together to assemble

the piece the night before the show.

 

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* The Vintage, Marquee style letters were made by Avalon Yarnes of Avalon Cakes.

*There are actual battery powered lights inserted into the letters, each covered in an isomalt bulb, hand blown by Michelle Boyd of Good Gracious Cakeswho also made the robot toys.

* My Little Pony and Strawberry Shortcake made by Liz Marek of Artisan Cake Company.

*Etch-a-Sketch, the Fisher Price recorder and the Garbage Pail Kids cards were made by Kara Andretta of Kara’s Couture Cakes.

* The Simon game, the Little People, and the Cootie Game made by Rudy Martinez of Man Bakes Cake.

*The Star Wars Lego figures and little monkey doll made by Ivone Kartadinata of Sugar Penguin Cakery.

* I made Rainbow Brite and the blue haired troll doll out of modeling chocolate, and the Rubik’s cube out of gumpaste.

Here’s a little video I put together of some of the photos that were snapped along the way, this past weekend.

Just a little keepsake for me of the people who ran off with a little piece of my heart. Xx

*Many of the toys were made out of modeling chocolate.

Check out my free video on how to make your own modeling chocolate, here…

 

 

 

Affiliate links to some of my favorite tools…

 

And see more of my FAVORITE tools in my Tools Shop, HERE!

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Check out my full length, $5 video tutorials in my Tutorials Shop, HERE!

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A Painted Carnival Lady Cake

Alright, I’m gonna give it to you straight…

I’m not really into the whole “Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday” thing.  I think the idea of  “engaging in a binge of sinning before a time of consecration to God” makes me, errrm…. kind of nervous, and strikes me as maybe ever so slightly hypocritical.   No judging… I just gotta keep it real, you know?

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But I WILL say this, I AM always up for a good festival!  I will rock a carnival with the best of them, I tell you.  And while there will always be people who maybe take things a tad too far (even for their own good), I DO love the idea of a grand parade… with crazy, colorful costumes, huge fun floats, lots of delicious food, and fun for all! (The good, clean kind… of which I am quite convinced there can actually be.)

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I mean, that’s what I think most people, deep down, really want… where the whole “Mardi Gras” idea even orginated.

From people wanting to LIVE this life.  Not being complacent to just put our heads down and trudge through the daily grind… but wanting to LIVE… to FEEL something.  Which is, incidentally, what I think God intended for us, here on this earth… to live our own special adventure.  One filled with some pain, yes, but an adventure also brimming with joy unspeakable, and fun to be had around every turn.

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But I think we often lose our way… and we begin to believe that there’s not really much here for us, and maybe no one cares.  So we say “screw it” and we go crazy… losing ourselves entirely in things that we know deep down aren’t, and never will be, healthy for us in the long run (orrrrr… even in the short run).

But when one is lost… one doesn’t really care so much, right?  ‘Cause when someone no longer “feels”, well… they might do just about ANYTHING to start again, I think.

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And while I’m pretty sure gorging ourselves and indulging our every whim won’t get us back onto the path of a life filled with the good stuff, I DO think there is a huge place in our lives for celebrations… carnivals even.  A feast for the eyes and the bellies, where adventures are tapping their toes, waiting for us.

So bring on the feathers, the costumes, the parades and the parties!  But let us remember them, for years afterwards, with warmth and fondness… and joy.

Better than not remembering them at all, right?  Knaw I’m sayin’?

Happy carnivals, everyone! Xx

 

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 I found a photo, online, of a woman who’s face fit the bill.

I printed it out to the exact size I needed it.

I rolled out some gumpaste, taped the photo over it, and traced the outline, as well as any reference points I’d like to use while painting.

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 I cut the outline out with an exacto knife, and started painting, using food coloring markers, petal dusts, and  airbrush colors straight from the bottle.

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I wanted her face to sort of “fade out” a bit… to add an element of mystery, maybe?  Not really sure why, just knew that’s how I wanted it.

My brain has a way of getting sort of bossy.

Kindo’.

 

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I cut pretty basic feather shapes out of wafer paper (though you could look up some images online and trace funky feather shapes onto your paper, if you’d rather.)

 

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  I cut them out with my exacto, and then made lots of little slits along the edges, going towards the center,

but not MEETING at the center, as I didn’t want them to break off.

 

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Here’s the fun part… I got out me ol’ airbrush and went to town.

I first sprayed them green… and the mist on the wafer cause them to curve a bit, JUST how I wanted them too!  It was great!

I let them dry and then gave them another green coat to get them really vibrant…

and once THAT coat was dry, I sprayed them down the middle with some black, to give them some depth.

They were SUPER easy to attach, just using a a bit of water, as they were,*AHEM* light as a feather.

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This Painted Carnival Lady cake was made as part of the Sugar Carnival, online collaboration between several cake artists from around the world!

Check out the Sugar Carnival Facebook page, here, to see all of the amazing cakes in this collection!

 

Tools used…

Here’s a link to the exacto knife I use…

And a link to my favorite paint brushes

 

Here’s a link to the Marvelous Mold I used for the headpiece

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And you can find the glitter I used on the bottom tier, and the gold highlighter dust I used on the crown, along with wafer paper and other tools I used for this cake,  in my TOOLS SHOP, here!

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Check out my full length, $5 tutorials in my Tutorials Shop, HERE

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The Bravest Cowboy of All. (With a cake drawing tutorial!)

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This book has always gotten to me.

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From the second my li’l guy brought it home from Grandma’s house (she having passed it down to him as it was his father’s when HE was a li’l cowboy) and I opened it up to read it to him, I was besotted.

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Remember how I talked last week about wanting to “feel” in this life?  Well, this book is JUST what I’m talkin’ about.

It’s called “The Brave Cowboy” and it’s written by Joan Walsh Anglund.

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The illustrations are all in black and red, only.  The black being what exists in the li’l cowboy’s reality, and the red being what he’s imagining.

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And as you might have guessed, he’s imagined himself in all of the potential scenarios a cowboy might have encountered, once upon a time… even, of course, rescuing a fair maiden from a tree (which happens to be his special little kitty, in his reality.)

And it moves me.

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Maybe it’s because I have a brave li’l cowboy of my own…  one who spends most of his free time acting out the very same scenarios as the ones in this book.  Maybe it’s ’cause Joan was able to convey a sense of the adventurous imagination of sweet childhood through her amazing illustrations.   I’m sure it’s a bit of both.

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But when I read it, I can only think of my OWN brave little cowboy… the one who ran into the house crying hysterically when he saw his little sister pop a red berry from our front tree into her mouth, absolutely heartbroken and quite certain that she was going to die.  (Errrm… we had prepped them on the dangers of eating random berries found in the woods.  So… yeah.  Heee took that to heart.)

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The same li’l cowboy who quietly sobbed too, next to his crying mama, as we both watched Gwen, Spidey’s love, fall to her death in the most recent Spiderman movie.  (Of which I have HUUUUUUGE beef with. Grrr…)

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And while yes, he still has a slight, ummm… panicky  aversion to spiders at this point (you know… the screaming-at-the-top-of-his-lungs-and-running-for-his-life sort of “slight”) he is, to me, and always will be, the bravest cowboy of them all.

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And so, for his birthday this year, I thought I’d try to convey that “feeling” through his cake.

Hoping, that it would make him “feel”.  ‘Cause above all else, I always want him to know how brave, and loved, he is and will always be.

Love you, Finners.  My cup runneth over… Xx

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Here’s a little, free tutorial of how I made and attached the little cowboy topper…

 

And here’s a link to my Tools Shop, that’s got links to the food coloring writers I used, the Satin Ice gumpaste I drew the picture on, the exacto knife I cut it out with, and more…

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Before it was airbrushed.  And I used an impression mat to get the “wood” look.

 

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Airbrushed with black.

 

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Modeling chocolate sign, with hand cut letters and food coloring pen writing.

BEFORE I “weathered” the sides with my fingers and an airbrush.

 

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I used melted candy melts and a popsicle stick to attach the cowboy plaque.

(Learned that little trick from Peggy over at Peggy Does Cake.)

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Cut some slits and some pieces out of the top of the “wood” boards to give them a weathered look.

 

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Click HERE to get to my recipe box!!

I used the chocolate sour cream cake with non-crusting buttercream filling and chocolate ganache recipes listed there!

Y.U.M. :)

 

 

 

Check out my full length, $5 tutorials in my Tutorials Shop, HERE

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Design me a Feeling…

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I have been alive for 37 years.

Now, if you’re 70 years old, you’ll think me just a babe… with so much left to learn and to see in this world.  But if you’re 15, you’re quite certain that it’s just about over for me, with all of my glory days left far, far behind.

And if you’re somewhere around 40, then you’ll probably see it like I do.  That I’ve lived a little bit… been through a thing or two, with some crazy experiences under my belt… but am still hoping for quite a few years more.

Wise with age or green with youth… no matter how you see it, I have learned some things along the way.

And while, honestly, the number one thing I’ve come to know is that, really… I know very little, there IS something that my eyes HAVE been opened up to over the past few years… something that I am entirely certain of.  And that “thing” is one very simple, undeniable truth.

We all want to “feel”.

Every day, every hour, every minute… heck, we’d arrange it to happen every second if we could, I’m sure of it.  We want to FEEL something.

Sometimes it’s complete and utter joy.

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Sometimes it’s strength and courage.

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Mysteries of nature (like the real wildfire here, in the background of this wedding photo) make us “feel”.

 

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Very often, the feeling of love is top on our priority list.

 

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And there’s even a time for feeling loneliness…

 

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and heart breaking sadness,as well.

 

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And it’s funny, but sometimes things we never would have thought… if they hit us JUST right, can make us “feel” too.

 

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In everything we do… in everything we experience… we’re looking for a feeling.

“Feeling” connects us… and it’s what makes us alive.  To feel nothing… well, that may be hardly a step up from death itself.  (I know… gettin’ all kinds of deep on you here, but just bear with me, this once.)

Why am I bringing this all up?  What’s your point, McGreevy?

Art.

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Art is one of the biggest places we turn to, to feel things.  In fact, in my mind, the true definition of an “artist” is someone who has the power to make others “feel” through their chosen medium.

ANY medium.   In fact, I think we were all meant to be artists.  Every last one of us.  Through some gift or talent given to us, I  think we were all meant to make others “feel”… to connect.  And when we do that… well, that’s when I think we really live…  ourselves AND the people we touch.

So, all of that to say something very simple.

When I design a cake for someone, these days, I want to make it count.

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‘Cause whether it’s the simplest of themes or the most complex… whether it’s for the joy of a little one’s birthday or a simple, sweet gift for a friend who’s been sad… I want what I make to cause someone to “feel”.

It’s not easy to do.  It’s actually a bit of a tall order.  But I really do think that it can be accomplished with ANY theme.  And from here on in, I’m gonna work my hardest to make it happen.

‘Cause if I can do that, I can do more than fill someone’s belly.

I can, quite possibly, touch their heart.

And that’s what this life is all about anyway, isn’t it? Xx

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A few work in progress shots of this new, hand painted cake class I’ll be teaching over in Ireland, in November (2015), at The Ribbon Shack

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(Here’s a little video on how I go about painting my fondant, if you’d like a little peek…)

 

 

 

Some affiliate links that may be helpful…

 

And see more of my FAVORITE tools in my Tools Shop, HERE!

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Check out my full length, $5 video tutorials in my Tutorials Shop, HERE!

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How to Make (& Color) Wafer Paper Bows, & Use SaWEEET Stencils!

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I’m just a girl.

I’ve tried to be more for most of my childhood.  I grew up wanting to show my big brother and his friends that there wasn’t anything they could do that I couldn’t… that I could play any sport just as well as the next guy, and I could be tougher than that rusty ol’ box o’ nails that sat on the shelf in the garage.

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I was wrong.

I simply didn’t possess the strength needed to hold my own in a game of tackle football.  And, really, WHO did I think I was kidding?  I wailed like a banshee when I pricked my finger on a rosebush.

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No matter the veneer I glued to my outside… the inside was, is and always will be made of a pink paradise… filled with glitter, beautiful shoes, ruffly bows, and as some old friends of mine would say, lots of “poofey stuff”…. where pain is avoided at all costs, and quite frankly, “tackling” anything is never allowed.

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I AM A GIRLY GIRL.  And in my (ever so slightly) old age, I’ve come to see that there’s no other thing I’d rather be.

Doesn’t mean I can’t play a mean game of volleyball  (erm… well “mean” may be slightly subjective here, these days), and pushing out four babies over the past several years can’t exactly be defined as “wimpy”, right?

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Just don’t put anything pretty, pink or shiny on the volleyball court (or anywhere close enough where it may call to me to come and touch it).  I mean, a girl HAS her priorities.

Just sayin’.

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Got to make this girly baby shower cake for my cousin last week.

And I loved every second of it. Xx

OH!! And I made a free video tutorial of how I colored and fashioned the wafer paper bows for you, too! 

(Click HERE to see the wafer paper I use!)

Here’s the video…

 

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 What the wafer bows look like all by their lonesome… ^^^

 

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I used my new, AMAZING stencil by Evil Cake Genius!!  

Their stencils are specially designed to create intricate designs on your cakes, and I have fallen deeply in love with them.

(Hubby understands.)

Click HERE to see all of their AWESOME options to choose from!!

(Video on how to use them, on the way!)

 

Toile stencil

 

 

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 See the TWO colors in that stencil? (There’s coral AND mint… though I’m a dunce and made the mint a bit too light for the white background.)

How cool is THAT?  Only with Evil Cake Genius’s stencils, baby!!

 

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Here’s a direct link to the wafer paper I use if you need some!…


 

Affiliate links to some of my favorite tools…

 

 

See more of my favorite tools in my Tools Shop, HERE!

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Check out my full length, $5 tutorials in my Tutorials Shop, HERE!

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Subscribe to my blog to receive your free penguin tutorial (exclusively for subscribers) and to stay up to date with new tutorials, helpful tips & tricks, and my latest cake designs.

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