Sunday, April 22, 2012

Chevron Inspired Safari Themed Baby Shower

How's that for a title! :)
One of my sweet sweet friends is adopting a beautiful baby from Uganda!  We are SO thrilled and excited for this amazing family!!!  In just over a month, he will be in their arms forever! This baby boy is going to be SO blessed to grow up with a mama and a dada who love each other so much, who are such amazing examples of Christ, who are already crazy good parents and who have so much love to give to this precious one!  Congrats Ian and Mindy!  We can't wait to meet sweet Isaac!
 Today we had a baby shower for Mindy!  We all got together to shower her with love, prayers and support for their newest addition.  Three of her close friends (all named Sarah by the way - well, one is named Sara...no "h") :) put together a fun theme for the shower...It was going to be a Safari theme complete with burlap and bamboo...with a chevron pattern in place of a zebra-type print! :) - because Mindy loves chevron. The colors were yellow, gray, burlap-brown, and a little green from the bamboo.  Hmmm, I thought...burlap, bamboo, safari animals and chevron...on a cake!?  It actually stumped me for quite a while on how I was going to pull all that off! :)

Here was the final sketch I came up with after 5 or so other versions ended up in the garbage! :) I was really inspired by this gals nursery art on etsy.
I really wanted to personalize the cake!  I wanted to include a verse that had meant so much to Mindy over these past  4 months.  God has walked with them every step of the way and has given them such wisdom throughout this process.

Isaiah 45:2-3
 I will go before you
      And make the crooked places straight;
      I will break in pieces the gates of bronze
      And cut the bars of iron.
      
      I will give you the treasures of darkness
      And hidden riches of secret places,
      That you may know that I, the LORD,
      Who call you by your name,
      Am the God of Israel.


Adoption is such an amazing example of Christ's love for us!  He has adopted me! - by His Son's blood!  This little guy, that Ian and Mindy are adopting, has done nothing but be born into a dire circumstance that seems hopeless to so many people.  He doesn't have money to give or a fancy resume.  He hasn't won some lottery or has done anything note-worthy...he's just been born into a yucky situation and has no way of getting out of it on his own.  Just like us.  We were born into sin...a dire situation!  We are unable to wash away our own sin and would never have a chance to enter Heaven without a Savior! - someone to redeem us...to reach down and pull us out of our yucky situation.  Ian and Mindy have prepared tons of paperwork, paid lots of money, made travel plans, and will soon be picking up this baby out of his crazy world and will be bringing him to a place of promise...a place of hope!  Just as Jesus has done for us.  By His life of preparation, by His work on the cross, by the debt that we owed but that HE paid, we are saved!  He has adopted us...those who believe on His name will be saved! - it's a promise.  And, someday we will be brought out of this crazy world and given a Heavenly Home where no more tears will be shed...where we will live with our Lord forever.  Not because of what we have done, but because of what HE has done for us!  Praise be to God...our loving and merciful Savior for His sacrifice...for doing all the work to save us!  Now I get to live a life of gratitude by glorifying Him and worshiping Him for His amazing love!

I ended up printing the verse and the animal silhouettes on icing sheets so they would be clean and graphic and I could just apply them right onto the cake...saving me some time!  Besides the verse there were four animal silhouettes around the cake.  A lion, a rhinoceros, a giraffe and an elephant.  Each animal had one of his names over the top...he has lots of names! :)  That's the beauty of adoption...they're keeping his African name and middle name, then giving him an American first and middle name.  He's going to have a great story!

The Sara(h)'s and Deb did such a great job designing everything. You should have seen all the cool pompoms and burlap flags that were everywhere!!  Sorry I didn't take pics of everything!
 Here's one of the food tables...the one with the cake...very important! :)
The top tier was a 4"x4" chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream crumb coated in dark chocolate ganache.  The middle tier was a 6"x7" cake with six layers of carrot cake and white chocolate coconut cream cheese buttercream (melt down a Lindt white chocolate coconut bar and add it to the vanilla buttercream recipe with cream cheese) crumb coated in white chocolate ganache.  The bottom 8"x2" tier was my chocolate mudcake made gluten-free! :)  I just used my mudcake recipe and sub'd gluten-free flour and added an extra egg...it was amazing!!!!!  Tasted like a brownie...not at all gluten-free!

Now, onto the how-tos...The Chevron Pattern!
Here's the template I created in Autocad.  This fits a 6"round x 6.5-7"tall cake.
 Since I made this template, I found this FMM straight frills cutter set 2 that has almost the exact same zig zag I used in my template.  Click HERE.  It could save ya time instead of printing mine out, cutting out the template then hand cutting out all the zig zags! :)


 I have a special technique I came up with to attach horizontal patterns onto a cake.  I have a Craftsy class where I show you step by step how to do it in high-def video! - so if you want to watch that, take THIS link to Craftsy and check it out!! :)

I LOVE this technique and use it ALL the time.  I've shared it with you before on the FashionCake I did...but I'll share it again in case you missed it.  I use wax paper to hold my design while I transfer it onto the cake.  This way, the fondant/modeling chocolate doesn't stretch, bend or tear.  It works beautifully!

Here's what you do...
1. Print out your design and tape it to your counter.
2. Cut a piece of wax paper that is the same size or slightly larger than your pattern.  Line the bottom straight edge of the wax paper up with the bottom of your cake pattern.  This ensures when you apply the pattern onto your cake, it goes on level!
3. Grease up the wax paper with Crisco!  This is what helps the fondant "stick" to the wax paper while you move it up onto your cake.
 4. Cut out your design from fondant/modeling chocolate using a template (see at the top of the picture above).  It took me over an hour to cut out 7 lines of chevron!  LOTS of little cuts!
5. Carefully transfer the cut fondant to the wax paper and line it up to make sure it's straight.  If you want to, you can also use your template or cutters to cut right on the wax paper.  Just be careful not to cut super hard or you'll cut through your wax paper.
 6. Once you've applied all the fondant to the wax paper and matched up the pattern, it's time to flip it over onto your cake.  At this point you'll un-tape it from your counter, turn it around so the bottom lines up with the bottom of your cake.  You'll want to wet the fondant that's facing up so that it will stick to your cake.  So, go over the design with a little brush of water.  Then, lift it up and place it close to your cake so the bottom straight edge sits at the bottom of the cake and begin wrapping it around the cake...see pic below.
 See how the bottom straight edge of the wax paper is right on the board...lined up with the bottom of my cake.
 7.  Go around the cake on the outside of the wax paper and gently press the pattern onto your cake to make sure it's stuck well.  Then, peel off the wax paper (like in the pic above).  And, VOILA'...instant, straight horizontal pattern...no stretching, tearing, etc!
8.  All you have to do now is line up your seams where they meet in the back and rub/wipe off some of the excess Crisco left from the wax paper.

How easy is that!! :)  Try it...you'll never do horizontal patterns any other way! :)

 
I definitely would have done the silhouettes differently, but once I cut the chevron and attached the silhouettes, I couldn't go back.  I didn't like how thick the border was around them.  But, I had to make it that thick to hide the edges of the chevron pattern.  Next time I would have mounted the silhouettes on fondant and put a a small band of gray around the edge, then applied that on top of the chevron pattern so it stood off the cake a bit, instead of the silhouettes being recessed into the cake...live and learn! :(  But, seriously....who cares right?! :)

I hope you have a wonderful week ahead!!  Thanks for stopping by!
Blessings!



Superman Cake


A few days ago I had the privilege of making this superman cake and some cupcakes for little man turning 5 years old!  His mama is a friend of mine who has been battling Hodgkin's Lymphoma since November.  She was officially diagnosed when her fourth baby was only four months old.  Can you imagine that? - I can't get my head around it at all...I never have.  It's amazing the journey she's been through these past 6 months as symptoms developed, a diagnosis was given, and Kami had to come to terms with the fact that she might not be there to see her baby turn one.  

What would you do?  Where would you turn?

Kami grasped onto the Lord...His strength, His love, His plan and His promise that whatever Kami faced, it would be for her good...to bless her, to strengthen her and to show her more of His goodness and love.  He became her ROCK amidst the storm!  - and her desire to bring Him glory showed everyone around her how powerful and good He is.  She was a light to so many people on her journey...including her kids.  Although she would be the first to tell you the journey wasn't pretty...there was fear, doubt, stress, worry and severe pain that I can't even imagine...the Lord brought her through it all.  She finished her chemo/radiation treatments about 10 days ago and is now in remission.  Praise the Lord!

Recently, one thing I heard her mention was how precious this life has become to her...the smell of her baby, the cuddles from her kids, the touch of her husband...how everything that we might daily take for granted became so meaningful and precious.  It challenged me greatly as a wife and mom of three wonderful kids to savor those moments...to grab my kiddos, to hug them more, squeeze their sweet cheeks, say yes more...to playing, to games, to listening, to walks...to linger when my husband kisses me, to look into his eyes just because I love them, to kiss him for no reason, to write I love you with lipstick on the bathroom mirror! :) - there are so many ways to be present...to savor the life God has given us...to live like today is our last day.

So, I challenge you...squeeze your kids, forgive quickly, kiss your husband, call your mom, savor this life you've been given and don't take a moment for granted!     

 
Thank you Kami for desiring to draw others closer to Jesus...for desiring to live your life to glorify Him and to bring blessing to His name!  May the Lord continue to strengthen you and to restore your life more abundantly than before!

Blessings!

Monday, April 16, 2012

How to make modeling chocolate

Here's a great video by Lauren Kitchens! This is a great recipe with very clear instructions!! It's real easy to make! Have fun!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

4" cake tin substitution

Have you ever wanted to make a little 4" round cake, but didn't want to spend $6-9 bucks on another cake pan?! I have! In fact, the several times I've done one, I've baked them in 6" tins, and cut them down. But, then I feel bad because I've "wasted" all that beautiful cake...either to my waistline or the garbage. So, what's a girl to do!?

Well, I solved the problem at Safeway yesterday!! I was strolling down the tuna aisle and came across this...a perfect little 4"x2" "cake tin"! :) - disguised as a 12 oz. tuna can! :)

I took two of them home (costing me just over $5 all together), cut one open and made a yummy big salad topped with tuna and lots of fix'ns for dinner last night! The other one will meet it's doom in our bellies in the next few days when a tuna craving strikes again! :)

I'm so excited! I have a cake coming up where I need a little 4" round cake, so I'll keep you posted on the baking end of things! :)

It's amazing what you can find in your local grocery store! :)
Thanks for looking!