Everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Electric Topsy Turvy Cake


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Last week I was given the challenge of making my biggest cake to date.  Also, this was my first attempt at constructing a topsy-turvy cake.  The cake was for a couple of friends turning 14 years old.  These girls were having a huge dance party, and they wanted an equally awesome cake.  Since the girls were using black lights in their party decorations, they asked me about making a cake that would glow.  I did some research and discovered that tonic water is black light responsive, and that it can be incorporated into the frosting.  Well, it worked, sort of.  There was a faint glow to the icing at first, but when I added the green color to the icing, it didn’t glow any more.  Shucks!  That would have been cool for sure.

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Now this cake is a little deceiving.  Although it looks like it may tumble any second, it’s really more stable that it appears.  The trick is in how it is assembled.  Each tier is recessed into the tier below it so that it sits level.  And when I say level I mean level!  The Tool Man and I spent a lot of time meticulously leveling this cake. 

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Any one who has ever constructed a tiered cake knows just how important the internal support is.  We used a lot of dowels to support each tier of the cake.  Plus there’s one long rod going all the way through the entire cake to keep it from leaning.  Even though this cake was supposed to look “topsy-turvy” it wouldn’t have been good for the whole thing to be leaning.

I have to say that I got a little anxious hammering these dowels into the cake.  One slip and whammo!  Smashed cake.  Thankfully, all went well.

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Once all tiers were stacked and iced, the fun part could begin…

Adding the decorations!

I made all of the decorations for this cake in advance.  So basically, once the cake was assembled, all I had to do was stick the decorations on with a dab of royal icing.

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I guess the most difficult decoration on this cake was the bow, although it wasn’t really that much trouble to make.  It’s just a matter of making it early enough so that it has ample time to harden.  This bow was sculpted out of gumpaste, and when it dried it was rock hard!

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Other details on this cake included multi-colored polka dots, paisleys, stripes, and flowers.  All of these I made ahead of time out of fondant and/or gumpaste.  You may have also noticed all of the beads.  The Tool Man deserves tons of thanks for helping me out with all these beads!  A tedious task, indeed.

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Let’s see how this cake measures up…

Twenty-three inches when it was all said and done!

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Time to deliver!  I’m happy to say that the cake made it safe and sound to the party locale.  That’s a cake decorator’s worst nightmare, by the way, a major cake catastrophe during delivery.  It would not be pretty.

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Whew!  Glad I’ve got that one behind me.

But the fun’s not over yet.  I’ve got my hands full with three more cakes this week… a cowboy cake, an over-the-hill cake, and a Saintsations cake.

I better get baking!


Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Day at the Beach

This is my third attempt to sit down and write this post.  Finally, finally, I got it finished…

The first stop on our cruise was at Half Moon Cay, Bahamas.  This is Carnival’s private island just for their guests.  It’s a quiet peaceful place with miles of beautiful white sand and all kinds of sunny fun.  Our family had a great time on the island relaxing in the sun. 

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The island featured a nice little play area for the monkeys to goof around on.  I kid you not, Lucy must have gone up and down this shipwreck slide 50 times.  She was the only kid playing on the slide, except for Ty every once in awhile, and she enjoyed every minute of it.

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There was also another slide/playground area for older kids.  Lucy made a couple of trips down this slide but not without Daddy.

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With the money his grandparents gave him to take on the trip, Ty bought himself a pair of goggles and some snorkel gear.  He had a good time trying them out in the crystal clear ocean. 

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Lucy waded in the ocean a time or two, but it just wasn’t as fun as that slide.

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Here’s our attempt at trick photography.  I’m not sure if it looks like Ty’s holding the ship in his hand or if he’s balancing it on his head.  Ha ha.

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Back on the shore Daddy decided to bury Lucy in the sand.  I wasn’t sure how she would go for this, but she was a willing participant.  She must have thought that she was supposed to go to sleep. 

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She didn’t make a peep – just turned her head to the side and closed her eyes.

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Ty made a friend on the island, and the two boys played together the rest of the cruise.  Take a look at the awesome sand castle the boys built!

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They didn’t build this castle, but the guys who did build it let Ty and some other boys play with it when they were done.  Surprisingly, the boys didn’t demolish the castle.  Mostly they just worked hard hauling water to fill the moat.

I found this shovel floating in the ocean, and Lucy used it to make a “sand castle” of her very own.

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Ty wasn’t the only one who made a friend on the cruise.  This little girl, Lilly, took a special interest in Lucy.  She has a few younger siblings of her own, so she was very good playing with little Lulu. 

When Daddy got tired of going down the slide, Lilly gave Lucy a hand.

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Lilly also let Lucy “bury” her in the sand.  Two sweet girls having fun!

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OK.  That concludes part two of our cruise.  I’ve still got a few more pics to share with y’all.  Hopefully I’ll get those up by the end of the week.  I also have some new cake pictures to show you, so be sure to stop back in.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Caribbean Cruising

I’m baaa-aaack!

Our family spent the last week soaking up some sun on a Caribbean cruise.  Cruising has to be my all time favorite pastime.  The Tool Man and I went on our first cruise for our honeymoon, and we were hooked.  Eat, sleep, swim.  Eat, sleep, swim.  What’s not to love?

We have always cruised with Carnival.  This time we were aboard the Carnival Ecstasy.  It’s one of the smaller ships that we have sailed on, but still, it was a big boat.  I never fail to be amazed at the sight of those enormous floating vessels.

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Our itinerary took us to the Bahamas.  We sailed from Port Canaveral, Florida and made three stops:  Half Moon Cay, Nassau, and Freeport.  We usually cruise during the month of May, so this was our first winter cruise.  It wasn’t cold by any means, but 75 degrees and breezy doesn’t exactly make for perfect swimming weather in my book.  Ty, on the other hand, had no qualms about going for a dip.

Aside from our first cruise, the Tool Man and I always opt for a room with a balcony.  We just love having our own private area to sip coffee (or enjoy a bowl of that never-ending ice cream), relax, and listen to the roar of the waves.  But this year, Santa thought it best for us to skip the balcony and have just a picture window instead.  His reasoning was two-fold I think.  One, Santa had a lot of wishes to fulfill, so he was probably pinching his pennies.  Two, he probably knows what a climbing dare-devil Lucy can be, and a balcony would just be asking for trouble.  I did miss having my balcony, but the kids thoroughly enjoyed our picture window.  It had an extremely deep ledge that they could sit and play in.  Lucy also found it rather amusing to jump from the window ledge onto the bed.  She can make anything dangerous.

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Not only did Lucy have fun playing in the window, but for some strange reason, she liked playing in the bathroom too.  And stranger than that even, was that she called it her “church.”  She’d pack up her baby and blanket, head in the bathroom, and say, “I going to church.”

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If you’ve ever been on a cruise you know that the staterooms are tiny.  There’s not a lot of room for extra beds.  Ty slept on a bed that pulled down from the wall about 5 feet off the floor.  Yikes!  Talk about temptation for two little monkeys!  It was like having your own private, in-room jungle gym.

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Dad liked the bed too!

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One of our favorite parts of each day was coming back to our room after dinner to discover what towel animal awaited us.  Ty tried to keep the animals from every night, but Lucy usually found a way to destroy them.

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I told you earlier that I wasn’t into swimming on this cruise, but there was just no keeping Ty out of the water or away from this water slide.

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Dad was the lucky one who got to escort Ty on his first trip up and down the slide.

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My guys were freezing, but that didn’t stop Ty from going back for more.  Eventually, though, he did give up the slide for a dip in the hot tub.

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Now, if you ask me and the Tool Man, the best part about cruising is dinner.  We have always enjoyed the food and service you get in the main dining rooms.  I especially like formal nights on the ship.  It’s the only opportunity this mom has to get all dressed up! And what girl doesn’t like to put on a fancy dress every now and then?

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One small accomplishment we had on the cruise was to teach Lucy how to smile for the camera.  Trust me, this is a huge deal!  The trick was asking her to show us her front teeth, like when she’s getting them brushed.  Works like a charm!

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How did I end up with the two cutest monkeys ever?

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This week we also discovered what Lucy’s favorite food is.


Let’s just call her, “Little Paula.”  We finally learned to hide the butter each evening as soon as we were seated and ration it out to her throughout the meal.  Otherwise we’d catch her dipping it up and licking it off the butter knife.  Ew!

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Here’s the pièce de résistance.  This dessert ranks among the top 5 of the best tastes I’ve ever put in my face!  Really.  I like it that much. 

Bitter y Blanc Pudding.  In other words, dark and white chocolate bread pudding.  Yumm-O!  They didn’t offer this on our last cruise, and I was some kind of disappointed.  Imagine my delight when I found it on my menu last week.

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Monkey kisses…

Sweeter than any old dessert!

I guess that’s why we southern gals call it, “sugar.”

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After dinner, we stopped by our room to check out our towel animal.  Then we headed to the show.  Ty was none too impressed with all the singing and dancing.  In fact he was a little disturbed by some of the dancers’ costumes!  Lucy, on the other hand, loved the show.  She sat still as a mouse, as interested as could be.  That little girl definitely likes music dancing.  I can’t wait for her to take some dance lessons.

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OK.  In order to get this posted today, I’m gonna stop it here.  Hopefully I’ll be able to share the rest of our vacation with you in a day or two.  It seems I have a lot of impatient followers out there. Winking smile


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ruffle Cake

I don’t know if I’ve told y’all before, but Pinterest is rapidly becoming my new favorite pastime.  It’s sooo full of inspiration.  Crafts, decorating, cooking…

Even cake!

My latest cake creation is actually a combination of ideas that I’ve seen on Pinterest.  Ruffles and bunting.

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Two reasons why I love this cake:

1.  The Ruffles.

They are the “wow” factor of the cake.  Although the ruffles look complicated, they are relatively simple to create if you have basic piping skills.  I have to admit I wondered whether or not I could recreate the look, but I think my ruffles turned out pretty good!

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2.  The Bunting.  An adorable idea.

To create the bunting, I used some of my scrapbooking supplies to whip up a few flags, then strung the flags on some ribbon.  The bunting is suspended from two wooden skewers.  The best thing about this bunting is that it takes absolutely no cake decorating skills to create it.  If you can use a pair of scissors, you can make your own.

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Now if you’re a cake decorator, you know there’s nothing better than seeing party guests enjoying your cake.

At the same time, however, there’s also nothing worse than seen party guests enjoying your cake, because this is what happens when they do.

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But you get used to it…

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At least with this cake I got to enjoy a piece myself. Smile

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Linking to:

Strut Your Stuff Thursday @ Somewhat Simple

Saturday Night Special @ Funky Junk Interiors