Sunday, April 27, 2008

Another Mini-Vacation

My husband's new obsession with offroading has taken us to a lot of fun, new places. This weekend, it was Hot Springs, Arkansas (or Are-Kansas, as we jokingly call it). After rolling into town at midnight during a fierce thunderstorm and slippery, twisting roads, we resurfaced the next morning and hit the trails as soon as possible. This time, it was at Super Lift Arkansas.

Oh. My. God. OMG. These trails were the toughest we have seen yet. They were made of something that looked like slate or shale-sharp, ragged, colorful rocks that would be either paper thin, or in huge chunks. At one point, we tried to scale a particularly tough climb, but lost control of the vehicle, slid down the hill and right into a tree. Ouch! After about an hour, we got lost at the top of a "mountain", and were beginning to debate if we would ever make it out of the woods before sunset. I know when I see my usually calm husband worrying that there is trouble! But not to fear, his excellent sense of direction eventually found our way out, where we immediately left for concrete paved roads, picked up a pizza, and hid in the hotel for the rest of the night. (Which, as a side note, the hotel actually ended up losing power and the entire town was bathed in darkness.) I like offroading, I really do, but when it comes to body damage and getting lost in backwoods Arkansas, not so much!

On our way into the offroading park, we came across a super cool dude ranch called Panther Valley Ranch. Knowing my son's love of horses, we stopped by and asked when the next trail ride would be. All the horses were out except for two, one of then named Haas, an unbelievably gigantic horse that was also very gentle. Two boys were working when we showed up, and told us that the kids were too little to go on the trail rides, but they would be happy to put a saddle on Haas and let them ride around the pasture for free. How sweet! Both kids had their first official horse rides this weekend. Thank you! Next time we are in town, we will definitely be staying there!

Saturday lunch was spent exploring the magnolia-lined streets of downtown. My daughter looked more like a Parisienne, walking her little white dog. We strolled along the allees together, munched on sandwiches, and window shopped the art galleries.
I had no idea that Hot Springs would be such a gorgeous place. There were ornate fountains everywhere, bubbling with steaming water from underground. Also, the architecture was amazing. I am an architecture freak, and one of my favorite things in the world is looking at old buildings. This is a mosaic from the outside of one of the bathhouses.

Lastly, here is my husband's newest desire that we saw on the way home, right on the Texas border. It is a vintage Toyota FJ, and all he can think about.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Addison's Butterfly Birthday

This is one of my most favorite cakes that I have done to date. I feel like this pretty much every week, where I fall in love with one of the cakes, but this time I really mean it!
This photo is not the best, but the background of the fondant is actually very pale green. In person, this cake is exuberant and cheerful, and girly. Adorable!
I should probably give props to its original creator, the amazing artists at Pink Cake Box. I aspire to be as skilled as they are!
So, for the cake techies out there: The cake is 3 tiers of pale green fondant, with watermelon pink, sherbet green, pale pink and orange polka dots. The flowers were made from the same cutter as the polka dots, and I assembled the petals around a circle and placed a different color disk on the top for the flowers' centers. The butterflies are plain fondant-no tylose or gumpaste. I used different cookie cutters for the different sizes, and then "painted" the wings.
The interior of the cake is Perfect White, Lemon Pound and the Chocolate Butter. The frosting is Fluffy Vanilla frosting.
I had really wanted to take the week off this week, BUT, an existing client of mine referred her sister in law to me, requested this amazing cake, and I just had to say yes! Happy Birthday Miss Addison-I hope you loved the cake!

Speaking of gorgeous butterfly cakes, check out the cake that was done for Suri Cruise's second birthday. Four tiers of white fondant with yellow polka dots and lots of little yellow butterflies. The price tag? $5000.00! Wow! I just love getting little peaks into celebrity parties and cakes. Great inspiration, and cute too.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Cakes for Tish

My new client Tish is a cake decorators dream. Not only has she preordered 12 cakes for the next year, but she has also given me a bit of artistic freedom to create what I want! After giving me the "themes" for each cake, she sweetly told me "I like to be surprised", and then allowed me to come up with the design on my own. What a rare opportunity, and how exciting!
This week she needed two cakes, and the themes were "Harry Potter" and "First Communion". Hmmmm. Those are pretty opposite from one another.
I don't know much about Harry Potter, except the basics from the first movie. Like, I know they went to Hogwarts and that Harry was in Dumbledore and that he was the captain for when they played the game with the Snitch. Beyond that, not so much. I ended up doing a bit of research on the web and found a great idea-First Year textbooks that students of Hogwarts would have studied. On the "reading list", there were the titles and the authors listed. Cool! So, as that as my jumping off point, I sculpted two text books, and then painted them with food coloring. When they were dry, I used something called Gold Highlighter-which is real edible gold-and dry dusted it on. I painted the book titles so that they appeared to be gold plated. I then sculpted the "Snitch" for the top-again with the gold highlighter and then added feathers for the wings. For the final touch, I made a bag for Bertie Bott's Beans, and then filled it with Jelly Belly Jelly Beans.
For her second cake, I wanted something almost porcelain looking. I settled on doing mixed shape tiers-the bottom square, then the top two round. To add texture, I used a special rolling pin to imprint swirls on the fondant that is draped over the top. I also wanted to make the cross stand out a bit, so I used tiny dots of royal icing to make a Swiss Dot design. The letters were done with specialty letter cutters that I bought at Cake Carousel. And then roses are ivory gumpaste, dusted with Cosmo luster dust.

I can't wait to see how her other cakes will turn out!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Why I LOVE Texas!

After dropping off my Circus Cake and wedding cake, we decided to get away this weekend and took a family vacation to Marble Falls. I haven't been there before (or remember it, anyway), and it was such a beautiful, beautiful place to be this time of year! We stayed in a hotel right off the river, and enjoyed an amazing sunset on Saturday evening. While shopping, we accidentally came across a little rodeo where my son got to watch some cows being roped and corralled.

On Sunday morning, my husband and I went off roading (again). This off roading park was awesome-miles and miles of hilly, rocky roads infused with natural creeks winding through. It was so relaxing to be out in the natural beauty of our state.
Later Sunday, we took a detour to Wildseed Farms near Fredericksburg. At Wildseed farms they had acres stuffed with bright red poppies. You couldn't help but just sit and watch the waves of them in the wind. We then headed into Fredericksburg where we dined outside under colorful umbrellas and chowed down on German food. I perused some local cathedrals, took photos, and then it was back home. The trip was far too fast!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Fun Cakes!

One of my favorite clients ordered the very first of my most popular cakes-the Cupcake Cake. This was back in September, and since she placed that first order, people have gone crazy for it! Well, this client referred one of her good friends to me, and she ordered an amazing cake she wanted me to reproduce that was first done by the wonderful artists at Sugar Creations. I loved how it turned out! The top popcorn bag is actually made from Styrofoam, which I had specially carved by the great people at Dallas Foam. The rest is all cake. The bottom tier stood at over 7 inches tall, and was carved to look like an elephant drum. The second tier was topsy turvy, to give the whole thing an unbalanced-it's-going-to-fall look. Since this was for a four year old, I piped number "4's" all over the wired stars that are sticking out all over the place. The popcorn in the bag is hand sculpted from yellow sugar, and then dusted with a bright yellow petal dust to make it look like butter. This thing was so heavy that I could hardly lift it! We estimated the weight to be about 50lbs-looks like the birthday boy got more than his weight in cake for his party!

The other cake I did this weekend was a gorgeous periwinkle blue hydrangea cake. The bride wanted the cake ivory, with ivory spray roses. The roses and hydrangeas were hand sculpted. I dry dusted the hydrangeas with blue luster dust, and then attached all the flowers with royal icing. It took 5 different trips to the store the find the perfect colored ribbon. Soooo pretty!

Friday, April 4, 2008

New Cakes

I haven't posted in a while, because most of the cakes I have done have been repeats! Here are two new designer cakes. Both are twists on some old cakes I have done, but I really enjoyed them, and am happy with how they turned out.

Next week will be one of my busiest yet-I am doing a huge recreation of a Sugar Creations cake (one of my cake decorating idols), which I just can't wait to do! I am also making a lovely blue hydrangea wedding cake.

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