Sunday, March 27, 2011

Memory Lane

I don't think it's any mystery to people who know me that I like cake.  Most of the time, I enjoy the opportunity to make a new creation, some of the time I don't. It's been a strange process for me to slowly gain confidence in my (still lacking) skills. I'm far from the point of feeling like a professional, but I am closer and closer to the point of wanting to charge a fair price for my cakes. I actually feel a lot of frustration over that part and here is why.  

For the most part, it is just my friends asking me to make cakes for them. I can't charge them too much for two reasons.  Number 1: they are my friends.  Number 2: they would just make do without the fancy cake and then I would have lost the opportunity to let my skills grow. I have had a few strangers, or less then close friends ask for cakes, and when I tell them what I want to charge, they don't hire me. James and I talked this through last night and decided that it's because I haven't set myself up to look like a professional; you know, a blog or what not with official pricing etc. The thing is, I just don't want to do that. I don't want to make cakes on a regular basis. I like the "every now and then" cakes. Plus...THE PRESSURE to make the perfect cake for a real paying customer! I just don't think I could handle it. 

Big sigh. Oh well. For now I am stuck in cake pricing limbo. One day (when I'm done birthing and raising little children) I may set something up more official where I feel like I can charge more official prices. Until then, I'm still learning and acquiring good skills, and I'm grateful for great friends who let me experiment on them.
This was Logan's cake two birthdays ago. He is very excited for his upcoming 5th birthday. He has specifically asked for a spider man cake, and I'm glad that I can deliver what he wants. Whenever he is invited to a birthday party, he constantly nags me what their cake will look like. Think he's surrounded by cake?

My third ever wedding cake. (Believe me, you don't want to see the first. I didn't even take a picture of it, that's how bad it was.)

 4th wedding cake. As is the case with most cakes I've made, I wish I could go back and do this one over. No particular reason other than I just know I could do it better now. Interesting side note: I had my wisdom teeth removed 1 hour after I delivered this cake. It was also our anniversary.
 I LOVED making this Phantom cake, but again, I want a redo. I could make that rose look so much more realistic!
 A fun experiment for my friend's birthday. 
 Doing these "birthday present" cakes feels like old hat to me now.
 Who doesn't love elmo?
 My latest creation, and one that I'm very proud of for a very specific reason. I dreamed it up all on my own! I normally have to steal ideas from a book or the internet. But not these Mickey Mouse cakes. These were all me! (All 15 of them!)

  Isn't it funny how the things that bring you the most frustration also bring you the most joy? I know we all feel that way about our children, but who else feels that way about their hobbies? Baking and decorating cakes brings out the very best and the very worst in me. Now I just need to figure out how to focus on the best and leave out the worst. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Who's is He?

My mom made me make my bed every day.

I don't know what James' mom's rule was, but even if it wasn't required, I have no doubt that each of her children made their beds every day anyway.

One day when Logan was 2 years old, we asked him if he would start making his bed. That's all it took. He makes his bed about 6 out of 7 days of the week with out being asked. And on the days he forgets, he acts devastated when he discovers his unmade bed that night.

In another story, all it's own, Lizzy has started acting scared of sleeping in her own room. The only way she would sleep in there was if we put the rail back on her crib. I wasn't comfortable with that since Siri's due date just a few months away. So, last night I took Lizzy shopping for her new bedding. We moved all of her stuff into Logan's room and made up the lower bunk with her new blankets. Last night was their first official night of sharing a room together.

Miracle that I hope continues: they slept great. Granted, they did wake up about 30 minutes earlier than normal, but I expected that.

Now the story gets strange. I got myself up and dressed and as I walked past their room, I decided to poke my head in just for fun. What I saw was that both bunks were made up.

I return to my question; who's is he? The answer is obvious. He's a Mickelsen.

(FYI, I make our own bed every morning. Not James.)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

New Challenges

This cake was full of new challenges for me.  Luckily, I have good and understanding friends who will let me experiment on their cakes.  I'll walk you through it, ok?  Not that you care, but I do, and this is my blog. :)
Challenge number 1:  The hibiscus flowers.  If you google how to make those, they will tell you to special order special tools to make them. I didn't want to to do that, so I combined all of the ideas I saw into one I knew I could do. I realize that a professional baker would make them look more realistic, but since the rest of the cake hardly looks realistic, I figure it works.

Challenge number 2: Making the Happy Birthday sign. I just don't have enough experience with gumpaste/fondant to know the best way to make the sign.  Now that I've made that one, I have some ideas on how to improve it.

Challenge number 3: Making the girl. I have never made a person out of fondant before and really wasn't sure of the best way to go about it. I got to make this little gal twice because she was too long the first time.

Challenge number 4: Painting the sunrise on the top tier. I know you are all asking yourselves, "That's a sunrise"?  Yeah, that's what it's supposed to be. I'm not so artistic and don't know how to paint at all. I watched a bunch of tutorials on youtube, but they still didn't seem to help. (I plan on taking a painting class some time in hopes that it will help me with future cakes.)

Challenge number 5: Making the coral.  I'm kind of the most proud of the coral. Underneath all that royal icing are small grape stems. The coral took a lot of patience and faith that it would look good. I may have yelled at the kids a time or two while I was making it. They kept hovering waiting for me to give them a glob of royal icing to eat.

Not a challenge:  Even though it was a first for me, making the seashells was not a challenge. I just used a chocolate mold and I have used chocolate molds before. Just not a seashell one, but that makes no difference. :)

Overall, this was a very fun cake to think up and create. I hope the birthday girl likes it, because I sure do. I'm usually quite critical of every cake I make, but I really am proud of this one. (Don't worry, I can still  point out the MULTIPLE flaws with it, but as James always assures me, you probably won't notice them like I do.)