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

Monday, March 26, 2012

Home Tour–Exterior

A few months ago I began a virtual tour of our home one room at a time. (And you thought I forgot.)  Well, since my azaleas are in full bloom right now, I thought this would be the perfect time to share some shots of the outside of our home.

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I mentioned this once before on this blog, but it’s worth repeating.  The Tool Man and I modeled the exterior of our home after The Burn in Natchez, MS.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Things

I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t have been happier with our winter this year.  Or maybe I should say our lack of winter.  I mean, did we even have a frost this year?

Maybe one or two.  Maybe.

As a girl who does not like the cold, bleak winter months, I sure have enjoyed the early arrival of spring.  It seems like the trees and shrubs put on leaves overnight.  Everything is looking so green.  I love it!!

The weather was so sunny and warm this Sunday (almost hot even) that I was inspired to take some pics of the new plant life around our yard.

What self-respecting southerner would be caught dead without at least one azalea in their yard?  Even though they are not all open yet, our azaleas are loaded with blooms.

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The crepe myrtles, another southern favorite, are just beginning to put on tiny little bright green leaves.

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In the shady areas, I’ve got some white hydrangeas budding out. I just love the paper white blooms these plants will produce later in the season.

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Now, I have to admit that I don’t remember the name of this plant, but I still think it’s pretty.  So tropical!

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Of course I’d be lying if I let you believe that all my plants were lush and green and gorgeous.  Here’s the sad truth about my camelia bushes…

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Ain’t it awful?  And to make matters worse, there is a matching pair.  I fully intend to dig these suckers up and replace them with something else soon.

Let’s move on to the back yard, shall we?

This year, the Tool Man and I made the decision not to do a garden.  I know, I know.  Sad face.

But after seriously considering our schedule, we knew that we just didn’t have time to devote to gardening.

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Here’s all that’s left of our garden, a rosemary bush, some irises, and a salvaged steeple.

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The Tool Man and I really, really wanted to grow some tomatoes.

And we are absolutely the best jalapeno farmers, ever!  So we decided that we would do a little container gardening on the back porch.

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This weekend we took a trip to Lowe’s and purchased a couple of tomato and jalapeno plants.  I can’t wait until harvest time!  I double dog dare a squirrel to try to steal my tomatoes this year.  I’ll pop a cap in him faster than you can say “scat” with your mouth open!  Grrrrrrr.

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Looking off of our back porch, we have the best view.  You can’t tell it at all from this picture, but our land slopes down a couple of times right into the creek.  And look at that!  I even had the good fortune of capturing a picture of a big buck passing through our yard. Ha ha.

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Ty had some fun playing in his pop-up blind after church this afternoon.

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He finally convinced his daddy to get in the blind with him.  If you look closely, you can see the Tool Man’s foot sticking up in the blind.

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Two other people who are excited about the early arrival of spring this year are Ty and Lucy.  I couldn’t be happier for them.  Nothing gives me more pleasure than to kick these two monkeys outside. Ha ha!

I don’t understand their reasoning, but the monkeys are firm believers that shoes and clothes cannot be worn out of doors.

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Here’s a little craft I whipped up for my back door this spring. 

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Bunnies and chicks are cute and all, but I really wanted to make something that reflected the true meaning of Easter.  When I saw this burlap cross hanger on Pinterest, I knew I had to make one.  Best of all, I already had all the materials I needed to make it, so it was absolutely free.  As my grandmother used to say, you can’t beat that with a stick!


Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Crawdad Cake

I’ve got an incredibly cute crawfish cake to share with y’all tonight. 

What?  Crawfish, cute?

Well, they can be if they are wearing wedding veils and bow ties.

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This is probably the most realistic cake that I’ve decorated to date, except, of course, for the fact that the crawfish are dressed for a wedding.

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Ta Da! What do y’all think?

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Although I did this cake completely on my own, I do have to give a nod to the Tool Man.  You see, he’s the one who decided that I needed to buy an airbrush to use in my cake decorating.  I would have been content to keep plugging along without one, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Well, I have to admit, he was right, ‘cause take a look at what it can do!

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Before – bleh.  After – BAM!

One thing about the airbrush, though, is that the color gets everywhere.  Everywhere!  You can’t see it, but it’s there.  So the Tool Man built me a force field of newspaper to help contain the overspray.

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Originally, I had planned to use fondant to cover this cake, but I finally decided that buttercream would be the best way to go.  Good ol’ buttercream.  I love the texture that I was able to get by using the it.  There’s no way I could have gotten as much definition had I used the fondant.

I did use fondant and gum paste to sculpt all the details around and about the cake.  Then I painted them with the airbrush to make them look a little more realistic.

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The crawfish are gum paste too.  I made them a few days in advance so they would have plenty of time to set up.  The only thing on the cake that is not edible is the “bride’s” veil.

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This cake was for a Honey-Do Shower/Crawfish boil.  It was carved from an 8 and 10 inch tiered cake, and it serves approximately 55.


Linking to:

Sundae Scoop @ I Heart Naptime

Friday, March 16, 2012

Basketball 101

This year Ty had the opportunity to participate in church league basketball for the first time.  Let’s just say that when it comes to basketball, Ty is definitely a newbie.  Other than goofing and around with his friends on Wednesday nights in the gym, Ty has never had any experience with a basketball.  Our gravel and dirt driveway aren’t very conducive to “pounding the rock.”  Thank goodness the rules for the younger league were more than lenient.  Of all the times Ty touched the ball during the games this season I’m pretty sure he didn’t dribble it even once!  I’m beginning to think we may need to hire out Uncle Jude for some one-on-one basketball instruction.

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Evidently coach Raymond had told Ty that he needed to stay near the block under the goal.  I wish Ty would follow my instructions as well as he followed Mr. Raymond’s.  Ha ha.  For the first two games, which was half the season, I don’t think that Ty’s feet ever left his block.  He stood there like a statue, with his feet together and his hands by his side mostly. Like I said though, you can’t blame him, because he’d never even seen a basketball game up to this point.

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Inexperience aside, Ty had the best time playing!  He looked forward to his games every week. 

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Finally, some action!

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By the third game we had coaxed Ty off the block and talked him into being a little more aggressive in blocking out and going for the rebounds.

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Ty’s best game was the last game of the season.  He scored two goals!  Whoop whoop!!  The look on his face after he made his first shot was priceless.  You’ve never seen such excitement and surprise on a face in all your life.  His smile stretched from ear to ear.  Ty had all the fans laughing and cheering for him.

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Our team went 4 and 0 this season.  Way to go boys and girls!

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You would have thought these trophies were made out of solid gold.  Kids just love to get trophies don’t they?

Here’s Ty and his good friend Jake.  His mom, Ellen, and I are amazed at how much these two are alike.  We get a good laugh out of it sometimes.  I don’t know if it comes from them both being homeschooled or what, but it’s down right uncanny how similar these boys are.  Even their bathroom habits are the same. Lol! (Sorry. I realize that may have been a bit too much information.)  I’m just disappointed these two aren’t on the same baseball team.  (Although, it’s mostly because Ellen and I won’t get to hang out during their games.)

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Inexperience aside, Ty had a lot of fun playing basketball this year.  Now we are all looking forward to a fun season of baseball.  Practice began this week, and our first scrimmage game is tonight.  Let the games begin!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sweet Tea

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I just love the internet, don’t you?  It’s like having the world right at your fingertips.  How did we ever get along without it?  Really, it’s hard to imagine our world before “dot com.”

I get soooo many creative ideas and inspiration from surfing the web.  Recipes, sewing, crafts, and decorating… the list goes on and on.  People tell me all the time how creative I am.  But really I think I do more RE-creating than creating.  And wasn’t it Einstein who said that creativity is just knowing how to hide your sources?  Ha ha.  I’ll agree with that.

When it comes to cake decorating, I get tons of ideas through online searches.  Sometimes I find a cake that I’d like to copy exactly, and sometimes I draw inspiration from several cakes in order to create one that’s just right.  But sometimes, even after looking through hundreds of photos, I just can’t find what I’m looking for.  That’s sort of the story with this cake.

For her fifth birthday, Anna Kate was living every little girl’s dream of having her very own real tea party!  Mom had carefully planned the menu, ordered the invitations, and selected the decorations.  But she couldn’t seem to find a cake that was just right for the party.

So she gave me a call, and spilled her cake vision to me.  We discussed theme, decorations, menu, guests, what she liked and what she didn’t.  I gradually began to get a feel of what she had in mind for the cake.  Then she sent me some pics of her invitations.  They were so adorable I knew that I had to use them in designing the perfect cake for the tea party.  You can see the invites and things here at the Tom Kat Studio etsy shop.

Here’s the sketch that I came up with after seeing the invitations. Mom loved it, so I immediately went to work making decorations for the tea party cake.

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And here’s my finished product.

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I think it looks pretty similar to my original sketch.

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The  butterflies and hearts are cut from gum paste.

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To make the butterflies wings stand out, I dried the cutouts in the valleys of some cardstock that I had accordion folded.

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As you might have guessed already, the Tool Man helped me roll all the beads on this cake.

The teapot topper was also cut from gum paste.  First I drew a teapot onto cardstock and cut that out.  Then I used that piece as a pattern to cut the teapot design out of the gum paste.  The result was a one-of-kind topper that perfectly matched the party d├ęcor.

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This cake was made of 4, 6, and 8 inch tiers and served approximately 35 people.  It was filled and iced with buttercream, and the decorations were made of fondant and gum paste. 


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

This Is Not a Cake

I don’t think I actually realized just how long it’s been since I have posted on something other than cake.  Some of you are probably wondering what’s been going on around our house or what the two monkeys have been up to.

Well, as far as the house goes, nothing has been going on.  Not one thing.  Unless you count laundry, and I don’t.

So what about the monkeys?  I’m beginning to think that maybe I should start calling them cats and dogs, since that’s the way they’ve been fighting lately.  It’s driving this mama CRAZY!!!  Lucy is as independent as can be, and Ty insists bossing and irritating her.  She’ll have none of it, and thus the bickering begins!

One exciting thing that did happen in our family last week was the arrival of our new little cousin, baby Lily!  We made a quick trip down to meet her last week.  Ty and Lucy just love little babies.  Here they are getting to hold her for the first time.  Sorry about the picture quality, but these were taken with my phone.

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Ty may be wild and rough, but he’s got the sweetest heart.

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Little Lucy couldn’t get enough Lily love.  (How’s that for alliteration!)  And being the little Miss Independent that she is, she really wanted to hold Lily with no help.  “I do it!”  Sorry, Lucy, not yet.

Here’s a little something I whipped up for Lily’s new room.  She’s got a bird-themed nursery, so when I saw a similar painting online, I just had to make one for her.

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Question:  What happens when your two-year-old finds your tube of lip gloss?

Answer:  This!

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She’s so crazy!  Lucy can get one little crumb on her lip while eating lunch, and she flips out.  But this didn’t bother her a bit.  She’d have worn it all day.

I’ll leave you with some words of wisdom from Lucy.

This morning she called me into the bathroom to wipe her bottom, and I asked her why I had to do it.  (She hasn’t needed my help in months!)  She just looked up at me and said, “You’re supposed to do it.  Your name is Mama.”

Just one of the many perks of the job I guess.

I love my job!