Monday, February 28, 2011

It's 12:47 am and I'm mildly tired but not ready to shut things down yet. I got into the most wonderful routine of reading a book on my phone every night, sometimes for hours, before falling asleep. But this month the book we're reading for our book club my sister owns a paperback hard copy of (you know, like a book with papers) and I couldn't justify paying for a digital copy of it just to have the luxury of reading in bed, in the complete dark when I can read the actual book for free. I'm sort of hating it, reading a real book. Having to turn pages, and find your place when you go back to it, having to use both hands to hold the thing...the worst part, besides the no bedtime reading, is I am a Word Thief. Not to be confused with the Book Thief. No, I steal words, plain and simple. I steal them, and I collect them, and I catalog them away in a gorgeous leather bound journal for later use. I can't tell you how many times I've reached up to tap on a word in the paper book to highlight it and read the definition that pops up. Certainly I could keep the journal next to me as I read and write them straight in there, but, eh...The funny sad thing is that this book, our reading group book, is about a woman who, after getting hit pretty hard with the recession a few years ago, is experiencing the same things her grandparents and great-grandparents did during the depression. She cuts out virtually every frivolous thing in her life and starts living frugally. And here I am whining about having to read actual books, that were, like, so five minutes ago. The irony is not lost on me. But if you think about it, it was my frugality that caused me to choose the free stone age book instead of paying to have it nice and conveniently on my phone. So, points for that, right?

Speaking of buying extravagant "wants" (not needs) when I probably should be making my own croutons out of stale bread and putting on layers of clothes instead of cranking up the heat (which I am natorious for)...I've been typing this entire post with a crazy huge ear-to-ear grin that would probably creep the Joker out. Why? Oh, nothing big. JUST THAT I AM OFFICIALLY A PROUD (giddy, deliriously happy) OWNER OF MY VERY OWN MAC BOOK PRO!!!! seriously, every time I think about it I get flutters in my stomach and I just start smiling like a fool. We researched, price-compared, researched some more, shopped around, and researched some more. Then finally, tonight, after a long and painful drawn-out wait for someone who has less patience than she has the ability to resist taking a nap, it was time. We found the perfect one, at the best price, and hit "buy now". That's it! No going back! Wild horses couldn't drag me back even if I could. No way. I have breathed, ate, slept, dreamed this laptop since I got my first book deal offer last summer. See, the mini laptop that I'm currently working on is Bill's tiny little school laptop that he takes to school. When it's home, that's what I write my book on. Funny thing though, (and by funny I mean putyourfistthroughthescreen infuriating) is it's got this quirky little habit of jumping the cursor to some random paragraph three paragraphs above and decide it would be fun to highlight said paragraph when I go to try and move the cursor back to where I need it, and then...oops! Delete it. Or, two out of three times I try to scroll down the bar on the side, it freezes. Just decides it doesn't feel like budging another millimeter. So I get to shut down my computer while saying a prayer that the auto save happened to catch my last two paragraphs that I'd worked on for a half an hour. So. Much. Fun.

So you can see my desire, my NEED for an amazing, dependable laptop that won't screw around with me for kicks and that will be fast and amazing and silver and pretty! I actually read this in the aforementioned paper book I'm reading: (I couldn't believe it when I read it) "A great computer to a writer is what an arrowhead is to a hunter." Hi, justification! Come on in! Make yourself comfortable. You can have a seat right next to validation and my ugly pet, smugness. Even the writer couldn't get around justifying paying a pretty price for a new laptop for herself. A surgeon couldn't perform without his scalpel, right? I rest my case. Plus, I am using my very first royalties check (eek! It finally came!) to purchase my new toy, so I am turning "business" money right back around into my "business". See? All kinds of justification flying around all up in here.

Wow. It's 2:00 now. And I think I just spent the last hour trashing books, blabbering about stealing words and reading in the dark, Grinning like Joker and going into way more detail about buying a computer than you ever wanted. Hm. Oh well. I promise I'm not drunk. Just high. Don't freak out, it's just a little bit. It's my sleeping pill. Things I've written are already looking a seeming very fuzzy, as is the stuff I'm saying now. Oh what a masterpiece this should turn out to be in the morning.

Ugh...morning. I have to wake up early, actually shower and get dressed and ready to be at my kids' school at 8:30 to help my big Sis out at the book fair. Then I have to go grocery shopping as soon as I'm done there to actually get any form of eat-worthy food in this house, then get Bunco prizes, figure out what to do for dinner for Bunco, and clean my disaster of a house byTuesday evening. I'm beginning to stress out that I won't get everything done.

One last thing, cause I know you're wishing this was over ten minutes ago. Oscars. I can't not talk Oscar for a minute. Colin Firth Best Actor = perfection. Sexy, humble, funny, self-deprecating...seriously doesn't get better than that. Love Natalie Portman, happy for her Best Actress win. Sad that Hailie Stienfeld didn't win best supporting actress cause I LOVED her in True Grit and even more after seeing her sweet princess/ballet tutu dress she wore that was sweet, beautiful, and totally age appropriate. Happy for Christian Bale taking home the best supporting actor, although not so much a fan of the bushy beard. I panicked for a minute that he was going all Joaquin Phoenix on us. And who knew the guy had a strong Welsh accent? I was so blown away! I think every movie I've seen him in he had an American one. Except maybe The Prestige. Yeah, I'm thinking now I have heard it. Anywho, James Franco and Anne Hathaway weren't as painful to watch as I thought they'd be, although I did find myself wondering where James was half the time (Anne was out there almost the entire time, bouncing around stage. When James came on, he always had this goofy, dazed look on his face like he was high and trying not to laugh about it. It's like Anne sucked all the pizzazz right out of him, and he just stood there peeking out from heavy-lidded eyes, baking.

Anyway, I'm really really tired now. I'm going to attempt to go back and read what I've written and if needed, prevent myself from probable humiliation tomorrow.

Leppert. Out.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

More Cakes

Purple Polka Dot Cake

This was my second fondant cake. The whole thing was supposed to be purple but I didn't have enough purple fondant so it became two-toned. And that's all I have to say about that.

Red Black and White Cake

I pretty much love this cake. You know, cause it's my favorite color scheme and all. And it was my first 3-tiered cake. And first zebra stripes.

Rachael's Birthday Cake

My very last Wilton Class (Course 3, Fondant and Gum Paste) happened to fall on a certain neighbor/friend's birthday, so my final became her birthday cake. The orange was actually more of a red that somehow, between class and Rachael's house, turned orange. See the blurry little finger poking into the left side of the picture? That's Addy's (Rachael's toddler), and two seconds after this picture was shot she started squishing all the little border balls with that tiny little finger, one by one.

Snowboarder Cake

I can't look at this cake without laughing. For his birthday, Bill requested (demanded?) a very elaborate snowboarding cake. See, the thing with Bill is that he gets these very grand visions in his mind of what he wants something to turn into, without ever considering the fact that most of us don't have the skills to accomplish said masterpiece. Also, we'd been watching a ton of Cake Boss and Ace of Cakes at the time, and so I think he was thinking I could whip out these amazing cakes as fast and easy as they do on the shows. Um, yeah, no. So I had to gently explain to him that his snowboarder/mountain scene would, in fact, be sans ski lift. Sorry honey. Maybe next year. However, I don't have much room to talk, since the vision I had in my head was, well, let's just say a LOT better than the actual finished product. My mountain could have looked a lot more...mountainy, and although I was pretty thrilled with my little Bill snowboarder, someone pointed out that he looks an awful lot like Mr. Bill, of SNL. "Oh no! There's a cliff! Help! Nooooooooooo!" (Can you hear the high whiny voice?) Anyway, I still loved the cake, but it was a little more homemade looking than I would have liked.

Pumpkin Cake

This cake, however, I think is pretty rockin'. My family enlisted me to bring a cake to Thanksgiving dinner and after searching online, I found one like this that I thought I could replicate pretty closely, with some revisions to "make it my own." My biggest fear in all this cake decorating business has been that I am in absolutely NO sense of the word, an artist. I can't draw anything that's not stick figures, I can't sculpt or mold things to save my life. (See Shayla? One talent I do NOT have!) There is a lot of sculpting in 3-Dimensional fondant cakes and I avoid it at all costs. But I thought I could try a pumpkin. Just a ball with a few places carved out, right? Well, I carved with a little too much gusto in parts, but all in all I was very proud of my pumpkin. Then I surrounded it with fondant leaves, flowers, and acorns (which I also hand-molded, I must say--the acorns, not the flowers and leaves) and put them all in a "basket" which was just a buttercream basket weave cake. I absolutely loved the result! It was exactly what I had envisioned for a fall harvest cake.

Up next: The cakes off my other computer. Yes, there's more.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Okay, I don't really want to do a post for each cake so I'm lumping them together. These are not in order of when I made them, because only some of them are on this computer and I really don't feel like going through the whole rigmarole of transferring them from the other one right now.

Spring Cake

This was my Course 2 (Royal Icing) final.
It's a buttercream basket weave with royal icing flowers on top.

Watermelon Cake

I saw this on the cover of a magazine at the store and knew I had to make it for the 4th of July. However, like most of my cakes, I completely ran out of time, so the finished product didn't look as much like the one in the magazine as I'd hoped, especially since it was pink, not red.

Blue & Brown Polka Dot Cake

Align Center
This was my first attempt at fondant, before I'd even taken the class. I was too anxious to work with it, so I just dove in and tried it. It's hilarious to me how good I thought it was at the time. But I guess it could have been worse for my first time and no instruction, eh?

Cowboy Boot Cake

My wonderful sister-in-law had enough faith in my cake-making/decorating skills to commission me to make her son's 6th birthday party cake, which was a cowboy theme. She found this cake (or something akin to it) online, but, upon making it, I quickly realized the all-red version, however adorable, would not only be disgusting, but impossible, as I still had never managed to get anything redder than pink. I could NOT take a pink cowboy boot cake to a 6 year old boy's birthday party, so I hastily dreamed up this brown version, with a red star I fashioned out of pre-colored fondant. (What would I do without that stuff?) All in all, I was pretty pleased with the end result, and I think the birthday boy was too.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Lower Lights


A Hymn Revival

(See above poster for details)

Click here to learn about the music.

Click here to buy tickets.

Hurry fast! It's sure to be a good time.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Miami Heat Cake

Okay, so I finally stopped being lazy and uploaded pictures off my camera onto my computer. People have been telling me to get my cakes on my blog so I'm finally gonna do it. Also, you can finally see the amazing Christmas gift my sweet hubby got me that I've only mentioned about three times on here. So this is a cake I made for my nephews 11th birthday celebration. He loves basketball and his favorite team is the Miami Heat, and one of his favorite players is Lebron James. When I saw this cake online I knew I had to do it (this is the one I made):

Definitely my favorite cake I've done so far. Bill forged Lebron's signature (his was waaaay better than mine). But I had the privilege of making an itsy bitsy stencil of the NBA logo and drawing it on with less than fine-tipped food coloring markers.

And here is the most thoughtful gift I've ever received:

My wonderful husband had the idea to get me an official chef's shirt to wear when I bake my cakes. He then found patches online, one that was the Food Network logo and one that says "competitor." He had my mom sew them on and embroider my name on the front (in red, so that the shirt was red, black and white). Then, on top of that, he secretly put together my "portfolio" for me that I've always said I need to do. He printed off 8 x 10's of every cake I've made and put it in one of those clear essay folders with my Wilton certificates in the front. It was amazing. Seriously the best present ever. I definitely married a winner. And now I feel so official.