Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cakes: Part II

Since the last cake photos I posted, I've done 3 more. Two were much more complex than I'd ever done before, and one was a simple design for my church band. Enjoy!

Angela's 50th Birthday Luau Cake:

A very close friend of the family turned the big 5-0 this year, and her sister asked me to make a cake. She was planning a luau and wanted me to incorporate a volcano somehow. This is what I came up with. The cake was chocolate with fresh strawberry filling (including the volcano), and was iced in orange buttercream. The volcano was iced in chocolate buttercream with cookie crumbs on top. I then used some cookie icing for the lava and just drizzled it around. There was a small white cup inside the top of the volcano that I packed with dry ice and just before presentation, I poured in some hot water so the volcano smoked. The orchids on the cake were flown in from Honolulu, HI on the Friday before the party.

Dayspring Worship Band Cookout Cake:

So my guys always complain that I never bring them anything tasty. Well, a few weeks ago, our bass player hosted a band cookout at his home and I promised a cake. The cake was chocolate with fresh strawberry filling, covered in orange buttercream. (This cake was done the day after the luau cake. That's why the frosting is orange.) The piping was done in chocolate buttercream. Each person in the band is represented on the cake and the instrument they play is on the side of the cake under their name. They really loved it!

Josh and Haleigh's Wedding Cake:
This was the first wedding cake I have ever done and it was quite a terrifying experience. A friend of mine's niece was getting married and she asked me to do the cake. I was shaking as I was putting this together, but I am thrilled with how it turned out. The bride's response? "I love it!" The bottom layer was yellow cake with raspberry filling. The middle tier was chocolate cake with white chocolate ganache, and the top tier was white cake with strawberry filling. The daisies were made of gum paste and the cake stand was burned with the couple's name and wedding date (Thanks Stephanie!!).

While I love making cakes, I'm probably gonna take a break for a bit. For now, I've got one more to do for my dad's birthday, and then I gotta start baking for Christmas. Needless to say, I definitely stay busy!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I hate squirrels...That is all.

Ok, not really. I do indeed hate squirrels, but that's not all. Our house has cedar siding, which was never really an issue for us until we started having issues with woodpeckers. Thankfully, we've been pretty successful in scaring them off so they've been coming around less and less. The squirrels, on the other hand, have gotten worse.

Last fall, we had squirrels in our attic. They would scamper around, chew on stuff, make a bunch of racket, and just be all around annoying. We tried traps, and they avoided them. We also tried a sonic sound deterrent. That seemed to help for awhile, but now, they don't seem to care anymore. We've been trying to figure out ways to get them out of their little holes so we can patch them and get rid of them. We know we have at least 3, possibly 4, and that at least one of them is a baby. Here's the progress so far:

First, we patched the original hole they were getting in. Travis found a piece of heavy mesh, and using some small nails and a staple gun, he covered up the hole. That kept them out of the attic at least.

 Travis:1; Squirrels: 0

"Woohoo!" we thought! We beat them! They can't get in anymore...or so we thought. Then, we noticed that they had discovered the knot hole that the woodpeckers had pecked out of our chimney.
Notice the other hole on the left we had to patch last year
 Travis:1; Squirrels:1

Although it sucks to have them in the chimney, it appears that they can't get to the rest of the attic from where they are. That's a good thing because there aren't any wires in the chimney for them to chew through, but it doesn't make them any less annoying. We've been trying to figure out a way to patch the hole, or scare them off. Unfortunately, this hole is 10+ feet above our roof, which means Travis would have to bring a ladder up on the roof. We've both decided that this isn't a good idea. So, what to do?

Travis came up with this idea last night (I think he's enjoying this a bit) to take a stink bomb, soak a cotton ball in the solution, and somehow get it up in the hole. He decided to try using PVC pipe.

You can only imagine how well that went. After 2 failed attempts (and tons of giggles from me!), mainly because his PVC pipe kept breaking, he finally got the cotton ball in the hole.

If you've ever smelled stink bombs, they smell like rotten eggs. After putting the cotton ball in the hole, Travis found out that squirrels apparently hate sulfur smells. We were quite excited that maybe, just maybe, we had gotten them out. The downside is that our house smelled like rotten eggs last night. We have vents in our fireplace, and the smell was permeating into our living room. Thankfully, the smell wasn't super strong, and dissipated pretty quickly.

And the squirrels? Yeah, they didn't care. In fact, they could have cared less. And this morning, they're still popping their heads out, scampering around on our roof and being annoying.

Travis:1; Squirrels: 2

Ideally, we'd like to just patch the hole with some chicken wire and spray foam insulation and just leave it at that. Unfortunately, because of the height of the hole, that's probably not an option for us to do ourselves. That means hiring someone to do it...which costs money. Let's see what happens. So far, the squirrels are ahead, but we have other tricks up our sleeves. Stay tuned. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I Remember...

I remember being 18 years old, fresh out of high school, and working as a waitress to make ends meet while I was in school. I remember waking up that morning to the DJs on the radio announcing that a second plane had hit the second tower of the World Trade Center. I remember laying there in disbelief before hoping up to turn on the TV. I remember the image I saw and the immediate fear, shock, and uncertainty I felt. I remember calling my mom not knowing what in the world was going on but needed to talk with someone, anyone. I remember the announcement that a plane had hit the Pentagon, and feeling sick to my stomach. I remember rushing to get ready for work, not wanting to miss anything going on.

I remember calling my dad, who worked in downtown Atlanta at the time, wondering if he was going to be coming home. (I DON'T remember his answer) I remember driving to work with my radio on not wanting to miss any news. I remember walking into work and seeing all my coworkers sitting at the bar, glued to the TV. I remember sitting down just in time to see the South Tower crumble. I remember the gasp, and then utter silence in the restaurant. I remember fear, and shock, followed by tears. I remember hearing the news report that a hijacked plane had crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. I remember hearing that the passengers decided that enough was enough and fought back. I remember silently thanking them for their sacrifice, and praying for peace for their families. I remember sitting there watching the news unfold as the North Tower fell.

I remember my boss telling me that even though all of this was going on, we needed to get the restaurant ready to open. I remember the 4 customers we had in a 4 hour shift, and I remember not caring that I hadn't made any money that day.

I remember the days that followed, hearing of the death and missing counts. Watching people on TV begging for help finding family members. I remember heartache. Lots and lots of heartache and feeling helpless as there was nothing I could do.

I remember a few weeks later, the fire department near my house had firemen standing outside their station with boots, collecting money to send to the firehouses in New York. I remember the line of cars and the traffic it caused as people dug through their purses and wallets to give something, anything they could.

I remember President Bush standing up and telling us that as Americans, we needed to band together, and get the son of a gun that planned all this. I remember him saying that we had to keep going. We could not let this break us and we could not fall apart. That if we did, the terrorists would win. I remember the amazing patriotism that followed as party lines were blurred and everyone banded together. We were no longer Republicans and Democrats. We were Americans, and we were not going to let this happen to our country. I remember being so proud to be an American.

I remember the Christmas that followed, my parents decided to take a different route to so we could drive through Washington, DC. I remember driving down the interstate and my dad saying "Look guys. See that crane? That's the Pentagon." I remember how much more real all of it suddenly felt.

I remember this past January, Travis and I had an opportunity to visit the memorial in New York. I remember seeing the hole that is in the NY skyline where the towers used to be. I remember the chatter of everyone in line as we made our way through security check points to get into the memorial. I remember how everyone immediately stopped talking the second they walked in. I remember the quiet. I remember the spiritual heaviness that was here, the unrest and the pain that was still in this place. I remember looking at the two pools still unable to grasp that these had once been towering buildings. I remember not being able to speak for fear of bursting into tears the entire time we were there.

Eleven years ago today, the World Trade Center was gone in an instant. The Pentagon was damaged, and a plane crashed in Pennsylvania. Thousands of people lost their lives, and thousands more gave their lives trying to help. As I reflect on this day, I am forever grateful to President Bush, his staff, the firemen, the policemen, the paramedics, the passengers on Flight 93, the volunteers, and the soldiers, continuing to fight, who did their best to keep our country safe and protect my freedom.

May we never forget. I know I never will
One of the pools at the 9/11 Memorial

Monday, September 3, 2012


I love those cake shows. Like Ace of Cakes (my favorite!) and Cake Boss. They're about the closest thing to a reality show I will watch. I've always wanted to make fancy cakes like that and never really knew just how easy it could be...and also how challenging. So when Penelope's 2nd birthday started to draw near, I found a picture on Pinterest (don't hate!) of an adorable butterfly cake that I wanted to emulate. Since then, I've done 2 more birthday cakes, and have been asked to do 5 other birthday cakes, and 2 wedding cakes. I have a friend who doesn't get on Facebook much (you KNOW who you are), and she asked me to post pictures of the cakes I've done so far. So, here they are:

Penelope's 2nd Birthday Cake:

 All the butterflies are made out of gum paste and 100% edible (although I wouldn't recommend it. Gum paste doesn't taste good once its hardened). The top tier was a 6 inch vanilla cake with chocolate ganache filling, and the bottom was an 8 inch chocolate cake with a raspberry filing. The cake was frosted with buttercream in pink and blue (Penelope's two favorite colors)

 LuLu's Bakery Class Cake:

 I got a Groupon for a cake decorating class for super cheap and after months of trying to get ahold of the lady, I finally got to take the class. And this is my little creation. It was a 6 inch half chocolate and half yellow cake with a buttercream frosting. All the piping was buttercream as well.

Travis Drummond's 31st Birthday Cake:
So my best friend had quite a summer this year. He turned 31 and got engaged to the most wonderful girl in the world (seriously, we adore her!). He is a HUGE University of Miami Hurricanes fan so I decided to do a cake in the Miami colors. His aunt (the party planner) expected quite a few people so I had to make a larger cake. This was a 10 inch chocolate cake with Miami orange buttercream filling. The cake was frosted with dark green (you don't EVEN want to know HOW MUCH green!) and the piping is the same color frosting that is used in the filling.

My husband's 30th birthday cake:

I've said it before, my husband is a total geek. So when we started planning for his big 30th birthday, I asked him what kind of cake he would like and how he wanted it decorated. Being the big geek he is (love you, honey!), he asked for a circuit board diagram cake. This one was quite a challenge and I studied circuit board diagrams for WEEKS trying to get them right. In the end, he was very pleased with the cake and so was I. The top tier was a 6 inch carrot cake with cream cheese filling. The bottom tier was an 8 inch chocolate cake with cream cheese and fresh strawberry filling. The cake was frosted with cream cheese icing, and the piping was done in chocolate buttercream. I also used candy pearls to give a little bit of dimension.

Since doing these cakes, I've been asked to do another birthday cake for the 8th, the 14th, and 3 in October. I also have a wedding cake to do on the 29th and a wedding cake to do in April. Not to mention that with the holidays coming, Bake Fest 2012 (see Bake Fest 2011) will be starting soon, and I will definitely be staying busy! Stay tuned for more pictures!