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Always Horsin’ Around

My firstborn.

My responsible yet fun, careful yet free, patient (with everyone other than her siblings) and sweet (um… with everyone other than her siblings) firstborn baby girl has just turned ELEVEN years old.

If I’m only 20, how is that possible? (Ok, QUIET.  A girl’s gotta be allowed to pretend, now and then.  Even if the crow’s feet around her eyes INSISTS upon reminding her.      Phooey.)

My Lily LOOOVES horses.  She loves riding them, grooming them, watching them… they are her THING.  So, no surprise when she requested a horse themed cake for her bday, this year.

When we were ready to talk design, she started listing off the usuals associated with horses… cowgirl hat, horse silhouette, maybe some rope… but that just felt too BLAH to me.

I wanted to do something a little more special for her, this time.

Hence, my Google images search began… and I eventually came across this gorgeous art by Kerri Herer, combining sketches with floral photography… and we both instantly fell in love!

So we decided we should try to bring it to life. (Well, in cake form, anyway.  In case you were confused.)

Ok, so I AM half Italian you know.  A horse’s head is not SO surprising then, is it?  (hee hee… KIDDING!  Though most of the men in my family found it astonishingly fun to snicker about how there should’ve been sugar “blood” on the bottom of it and snuck into someone’s bed at night.  Boys think they’re SOOOO darn funny, and are so CLEARLY entertained by themselves.  Thank goodness someone is… but I digress… ;) )

My hubba hubba burnin’ love cut me some MDF board… I used some plumbing piping bought from the local hardware store to rig up a solid structure (having covered any piping that would be touching the cake with modeling chocolate first, of course) and went to town.

Had no idea how she was gonna turn out… but after figuring out what to do with that blob of modeling chocolate that was to be manipulated into her face, a little airbrush action, and my wafer paper flowers (VERY fun to make, click HERE to get yaself some wafer paper), it all seemed to come together in the end.

And when my Lily walked into the room once her white horse head cake (that she later, affectionately named “Summer”) was finished, held her hand to her mouth and gasped, “Momma!  It’s BEAUTIFUL!”,  I instantly deemed this project a success…

and was just so happy that “Summer” actually ended up looking like a horse.

‘Cause, well… you just never know  with these things.  And kids have that “naked truth” factor going on that can often leave you whimpering in the corner.  Knaw I mean?

Lily loved her horse.

And then we ate her. ;)

 

 

Solid modeling chocolate head, with the neck being the cake.  Click HERE to view my free video on how to make modeling chocolate!

You can blend in the seems of modeling chocolate so that they are invisible!

Petal dusts and airbrushed coloring.  (You NEED an airbrush in your life. SAVE YO’ PENNIES.  Click HERE to see mine.)

new dorothy

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain.

“We’re off to see the wizarrrrrrrrrrd, the wonderful wizard of Oz.  We hear he is a wizard of wiz, if ever a wiz there was.  If ever oh ever a wiz there was, the wizard of Oz is one because because, because because because because, beCAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUSE... because of the wonderful things he does! (dant da na na na nont, DANT)…

We’re off to see the wiZARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRD, the wonderful wizard of Oz!”

(But quite frankly, I’m quite convinced that the Lolipop Guild munchkins are where the party is REALLY at.

Just sayin’.)

My “time” meter is running on empty, this week, (and I’ve a household of 7  children at the moment, with a patience level that’s skatin’ on dangerously thin ice) so I’ll make this description short ‘n sweet…

Wizard of Oz cake.

Airbrushed “corn field” bottom tier.

Airbrushed “scary woods” top tier.  (I know… I went for a very “Monet” version of both.  But please don’t say it out loud.  Not wanting him to roll around in his grave or anything.”)

Modeling chocolate brick road, leading to a green colored, isomalt Emerald City, crowning the top, surrounded by poisonous red poppies (but it’s OK!  They’re just made of sugar!!  hee hee *snort*)…

with a sassy lil’ Dorothy sittin’ her tush at the bottom, going somethin’ like, “Um, yeah.  Who’s got the ruby slippers NOW, y’all?  And, “I’ll GO to see your little man behind the curtain, but let’s not pretend I’m doin’ it ’cause I BELIEVE any of that rubbish.“ 

And Toto.

In his basket.

Wish I fit in a basket… and could be carried around all o’ the time, EVEN if I went and bit my neighbor every time she hit me on the back with a rake.

Geesh.  Dogs get to have ALL the fun. ;)

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Click HERE to view the airbrush package I own and highly recommend to anyone who likes to play…and play and PLAY!

Click HERE to check out the isomalt crystals that I use to make some fun “crystal/glass like” decorations… and play and play and PLAY. ;)

Click HERE to see a selection of GORGEOUS backdrops, several of which I own to enhance my photos.

And for the sake of all that is good in this world, PLEASE make yaself a batch of modeling chocolate, and therefore have a whole new WORLD open up before your very eyes!  Click HERE to see my free video that walks you through the simple process of making some.

You’ll thank me for badgering you about it.  I’m certain of it. ;)

 

 

 

 

 

side 1

Why am I so Freakishly Annoying?

Initially, it was supposed to be Sofia the First.
But I’m so TIRED of Sofia the First. I mean, yes, she’s cute and all, and I would’ve been in love with her show, too, when I was a little girl and all…
But I just wanted to work on something DIFFERENT, you know?
You know.

But how to convince my little 4 year old of MY desires on HER birthday. (You’re judging me. I know. I’m judging me, too.)

 

Well, the good news is that I didn’t have to do the convincing. My littlest pipsqueak has three older siblings that, every ONCE in a blue moon, actually take my side.

And the moon was a very bright azul that night, apparently.

As soon as we all sat around the dinner table and I brought up the idea of maybe kinda sorta NOT making a Sofia the First cake for Lucy’s 4th birthday, my eldest three seized the moment and started listing off all of the OTHER things in life that Lucy takes great joy in (which, as many mothers across the universe encounter as well, I hope, at the ripe old age of four, is largely story book/movie heroines).

 

We soon remembered that one of Lucy’s all time (that, again, being an overwhelming total of four years) favorite movies is “Wreck it Ralph”. For a good several months there, on every single kid’s movie night, Lucy would “suggest” over and over again, that they watch “Wreck it Ralph”… for the one hundred GAZILLIONTH time.

What can I say, the child has good taste.
It is, in my opinion, one of the best animated movies out there.
I love it. I love the movie “set”. I love the characters.
And I LOVE Vanellope Von Schweetz.

And so does Lucy.
So when I exclaimed in my “desperately need to get the kids excited about this” voice, “Hey, I know! How about we make Vanellope in her CANDY CAR!!“, Lucy did a dramatic double fist pump (no, this particular apple does not fall too far from the tree) and shouted, “YEEEESSS!

So, here we are. Poor Sofia the First sittin’ on the back burner, while Vanellope steals the birthday spotlight.
Do I regret swaying my little girl’s opinion… ever so subtly getting my way?

Nah. You know what they say… “When Mama’s happy, EVERYONE’S happy.”

And I just want everyone to be happy.
See, I’m not so bad.
Really. ;)

I taped the making of this cake, and shall begin editing the film to get it up onto my YouTube channel as soon as possible.
Especially since I dropped my external hard drive the other day… and it broke… and I have to spend hundreds of dollars to try to extract all of the OTHER video footage I’ve had waiting to be edited for you.
So, I’ma gonna just smile really big and focus on THIS video for the moment.
So that I don’t curl up into the fetal position again, chanting, “stupid, stupid…. I’m so STUPID“.

*Vanellope is made, 100% of modeling chocolate.
*Vanellope’s car is cake, covered in ganache, and then covered with mostly modeling chocolate, not fondant.

Here’s a little behind the scene’s action…

Solid modeling chocolate.  See my free video how to/recipe by clicking HERE

Cake, covered in ganache, with the beginnings of the modeling chocolate details…

(Didn’t attach the wheels yet… just placed them to see how they’ll look.)

My mat that I use to make, um, well… EVERYTHING on (and can be cut on over and over again) can be found by clicking HERE.

I’ll show you how I make the purple look a bit like raspberry jam in my the YouTube video I’ll have up soon…

I made the wheels, exhaust pipes and spoiler earlier in the week and let them dry.

Everything is edible except the wooden skewers in the pipes holding up the spoiler and the exhaust pipes.

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*Sniff, Sniff*… My Lil’ Guy Graduates, With Love

I knew it would happen. I even knew when. This did NOT take me by surprise… and yet, somehow, it still hurts a little bit.

Don’t get me wrong, I AM a happy mama. I am proud, I am blessed… quite frankly, my cup runneth over, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there was still just the teeny tiniest bit of pain in my heart last week when my little buddy graduated Kindergarten.

He is healthy, he is smart, and he’s really starting to develop the beginnings of a FANTASTIC sense of humor (velly velly proud, am I) but the end of KINDERGARTEN?? What does that MEAN???

I’ll tell you what that means! That means my sweet baby boy… the one who lost complete control of his senses (along with his tear ducts) and led me to believe the world was straight up ENDING when he thought his baby sister ate a poisonous berry out in the back yard… the one who treats animals like royalty, the likes of which to be handled with greater care and given more attention to than any human he’s even crossed paths with? Yes, that baby boy. Graduating kindergarten means… well, it means, it means he’s no longer my BABY boy, and is on his way to becoming my little MAN. *SOB*

And the bottom line is… I’m just not sure I’m ready for that.

I still want to hold his hand when we’re walking together, and if anyone’s around, well… that’s just not cool anymore, Mama. *sniff*
Singing along with his three sisters and four girl cousins as they watch “Frozen” together is a THING OF THE PAST. Now, running off to get his plastic hook, toy hand and sneaking up behind the girls as they’re lost in the moment and scaring them half to death with his very loud, pirate “ARRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!” is his new favorite game of choice. *sniff* (Ok, wait, that one IS kind of funny.)

Baby is gone… and fun-seeking, rabble rousing little man has taken up residence.

Alright, I guess that’s not so bad. Like I said, it IS highly amusing at times… and you know what? When it’s time to gather in the bedroom at night to pray together before they’re all tucked into their own cozy beds, that little guy stills jumps up onto my lap for a little late night snuggle.

And it still melts my heart every time.

I will take what I can get. And I’ll brace myself for the rest.

This was the cake I designed for Finn’s kindergarten teacher last week. She is retiring… after decades of loving our babies, pouring out her head and heart for them, day after day… week after week.

I just need to tell you here, that this woman, Mrs. Grefrath… Marla to us big kids, was the teacher I handed two of my babies over to, to commence the beginning of their lives OUTSIDE of our home… of our care.
And I could not have hand picked a better, more wonderful woman for the job. She helped ME, maybe even more than them. I felt as if somehow it was OK to let them go. ‘Cause if you’re a mama, then YOU KNOW how very unconvinced you can be of that simple notion- letting them GO, on the first day of Kindergarten.
I am indebted to her.
Mrs. Grefrath will ALWAYS hold a special place in ALL of our hearts.

So, somehow, I had to try to convey that sentiment in cake. And since her room was always known as the “Rainbow Room”, I thought it only right to incorporate those beautiful colors we know and love into the design as well.

 

Marla, from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you. We thank you for taking care of our babies…for loving them even on the days they seemed intent upon driving you off the deep end. You never jumped ship, you never lost your cool. You only loved. And they knew it.

 

And for THAT, you will always have the deepest or OUR love and gratitude. Xx

 

 

 

 

I sculpted the teacher and student topper out of gumpaste, and then whittled them a bit after they hardened to give the the “Willow” figures look.

I used food coloring markers to write the quote onto the bottom tier.  (Note… the black, when used directly on fondant, tends to fade to a dark green.  Which made me entirely too unhappy at the time.)

You can find a set of food coloring markers listed on my “tools” page, by clicking HERE.

We debated which quote to include, but at the end of the day, my kids decided that this was the only one that would do.

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A New Class! Filled with Memories of Love and Loss…

I went.

I saw.

I filmed.

I LOOOOOOOVED… but I also lost.

I’ve already mentioned that I flew to Spain a little while ago with three amazing cake artist friends, was wined and dined with them (the likes of which included raucous laughter and fun, unbelievable) and COMPLETELY pampered for almost an entire WEEK, and then filmed a new class with the you-don’t-even-REALIZE-how-fabulous Paul Bradford of Paul Bradford’s Designer Cakes, right?

Um… did I mention that Paul and his business partner, David, are just wonderful? Fun, funny, humble, kind, GENEROUS, and just overall BRILLIANT?? Did I mention that if they would allow me to legally adopt them as brothers, I would?

I did, didn’t I?
K. I won’t say a word, then.

BUT, did I mention how undeserving I felt and still feel, but how RIDICULOUSLY grateful I am to have had that week with my amazing friends, with Paul and David, in SPAIN? ‘Cause I do… and I am.

The week was one I’ll never forget. For all of those reasons above… but also because that was the week that little Ben left us all.
When I was in Spain.

It’s strange. I was in the midst of joy, having such a crazy fun time… when the news hit.
My friends cried with me.
And actually, I held it together pretty well for the rest of that week. Kept is shoved deep down pretty good.
It wasn’t ’till I got on that first plane home, that I completely broke down.
I’ll never forget how that flight was the very FIRST flight I have ever taken with an empty seat on either side of me.
Like God knew… and was giving me some time to grieve on that plane.
Of course he knew. I’m the only one who hadn’t a clue that I would sob for that entire flight.
Oh gosh, the poor stewardess. Must o’ thought I was leaving a lover behind.

But looking back, it also feels like maybe God gave me that week… just at that precise moment… to bring me a little extra joy in the midst of such sorrow.
‘Cause He knows.
And He cares.
‘Cause He loves.

Yep, I’m convinced.

I forged some friendships, that week, that I know I will have for life. And I also experienced sorrow for a friend, for the first time really, that will be hard to match in this lifetime, that week.
It was a week that will be branded in my mind, forever.
Of that I’m certain.

 

And now, I present to you, my Antique Pot Cake class that was also born of that week! It holds many memories for me.

And therefore, this class will always hold a special place in my heart.
If you get the chance to view it, I truly hope you enjoy it.

 

You must sign up (or already be signed up) for Paul Bradford’s Sugarcraft School in order to view the class, but here’s the fun part!  They’ve let me offer you a preeeetty cool deal!

It’s called “Try it for $1“!  Basically, they offer you access to all of their 200+ courses (including mine) for 14 days for $1, and then a discounted $9.95 per month after that. Cancel any time including the first 14 days, and as a member you also get 1 new course each week.

Can’t beat THAT with a stick!  And guess what?  Mayen of Way Beyond Cakes by Mayen and Rudy of Man Bakes Cake (and soon, Brenda of Sugar High, Inc.) each have a class offered in there as well!  So you’ll have access to those, too!

Click on these words to get the deal… TRY IT FOR $1!

 

I had so much fun making this class.  Paul was sitting off to the side while I was filming and it was all I could do to not pull him onto the set!   The guy is a class act, and a fun friend to have making you laugh, off camera. ;)

I so very much hope you enjoy!