Friday, June 02, 2006
A Domestic Journey
I pride myself on being capable, on my accomplishments.

I don't expect to know anything, but I don't stop myself from doing things because I lack know-how. I'm a gather intel, come up with a plan, figure it out for myself kind of gal.

Particularly, that is, when it comes to the domestic arts.

I completely reupholstered our living room furniture and made a valance for the living room picture window to match. It took me 4 months, but I finally finished.

When I wanted to make petit fours like we used to have at Rush parties, I searched and searched for a recipe, but found nothing that could be duplicated in my kitchen. So what did I do? I spent 6 weeks coming up with my own recipe that would work. And, just for the record, they were fabulous.

Last night, I had another major achievement. You should know that I have achieved some acclaim for my baked goods. Cakes, Tarts, Tortes, Crisps, Cupcakes, Pies, Bread, Cookies...I have a cookbook full of success stories. But, I've always been a bit cowed by piping bags and the cake decorating arts. They have always seemed so intricate to me. And, you may not realize it, but frostings, icings, and the like can be extremely fussy.

But, I really want to develop this skill and hone it because I'm a mommy now and I want to bake and decorate Bunny Boop's birthday cakes. (And make her Halloween costumes, too, but that's another post.)

This afternoon, my teenage sister graduates from high school. My mother is throwing her a party. She is having the food catered, but I offered to make the cake.

And I did. I baked a beautiful two-layer cake and spent a couple of days researching decorating techniques on the web (which is rapidly turning into my sole information source). I was going to make an attempt, but I didn't want to turn out junk as the event is important. I have seen my neighbor decorate cakes, though, so I didn't feel completely adrift.

Speaking of which, have you ever seen a professional decorate a cake? It is amazing! My good friend and neighbor can take the blank canvas of a well-frosted (with base coat) cake and make it look fabulous with embellishments in less than 15 minutes. She used to do it for a living, now she owns a bakery.

So, I knew that there was no way on earth I could compete with that, but I needed a plan. A plan that played to my strengths, but that also challenged me. I have done some work, of course, like these cupcakes, but that was without a net and more off-the-cuff for a kid's sport-themed birthday party. This is more serious.

I am pleased with the results. I did leaf borders falling over the top edge and bottom of cake ( a la Martha Stewart), additional leaves climbing like ivy on the sides, words, and the dreaded roses.

It took me 2 hours (with folding of laundry, emptying of dishwasher, and feeding of baby included). My leaves look pretty good. The design concept was a winner. My words look good, if a bit unparallel. My roses? Are you at all familiar with Buttercream? Egad. It is like trying to work with hot lava. It was a bit tricky. My roses could be better. Instead of looking like the perfect hothouse roses, they look more like wild roses.

I will post a picture tomorrow or Sunday. Then you can tell me how much I suck.

But, I'm going to keep working on this. Maybe I can rope my friend into lessons if I do the baking...


posted by Phoenix | 9:58 AM


At 2:57 PM, Blogger LadyBugCrossing said...

Here from Theresa's.
I'm sure your cake came out gorgeous! Please post a picture.


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