January 31, 2013


 You can probably write this post yourselves by now...sorry it's been so long...I've been sick...blah blah blah...

Yes, it was time for my quadra-annual (yep, I'm making up words now) illness.  I'm sure you're as tired of hearing it as I am of being it so nuf said.

Anyhoo...in addition to being ill, I've been working on a few projects.  When David asked if we wanted to accept orders to stay in Hawaii longer it was a pretty fast answer:  "Yes!, but I get to re-do the playroom."  I was tired of the mess and the color explosion and was ready for a change.  This might not seem a big deal to you folks but to Navy folks its a rare day that we live anywhere long enough to consider RE doing a room.  Kind of exciting!

I didn't take any "before" photos (too frightening) but I did dig up these from a year ago.  You can see what I'm talkin bout in the background!

Fyi for the ladies - your idea of a room makeover and your husbands is vastly different.  Really.  He jumped right on board and quickly spent my entire budget on a new flat screen TV, a new TIVO box, a new blue ray DVD player and 200 ft. of cable and cord to go with.  Hmmmm, nice additions but not really the cohesive, warm, functional space I had pictured.  

When all that was done I hit Sears, Craigslist and Home Depot and did the best I could.  It's still not completed but like any project, it's 80% done in the first few weeks and over the next years I will undoubtedly tweak away!

This was my Craigslist find for $60.  Very functional to hold our art supplies but the color had to go! (Here is where Home Depot comes in)  Another $50 of paint stripper, stain, sand paper and 4 phone calls to my father - I was off to work!

Thank goodness for the shabby chic look.  I stained the top but took sandpaper and a little stain to the frame for this look.

Sadly, I thought I was done but now I really hate the whiteness of the baskets with the antiqued frame so they need some work.  My hope is to rub some stain on them but not sure it will work since they are painted.  (Hence the blue handles...that is just painting tape...they will stay natural)  Like I said, 80%!!

Here is the rest of the room with new bins, curtains, framed artwork and of course...the fabulous new entertainment system!

Happy to put this in the done for now column and get back to living in Hawaii!  I feel like a beach weekend is in order.  

post signature

January 5, 2013

Dolphin Birthday Party Step 2: The Party!

Finally we arrived at party day!  

Dolphin and heart shaped PB and Nutella sandwiches

Best pals...

Painting dolphins is serious business!

Cake time!!!


The END ;)

post signature

January 4, 2013

Dolphin Birthday Party Step One: The Cake!

So, a little backstory on my Emily.  She is elaborate.  Anything you can dream up to do, make, play or create...she can top you by making it more elaborate than you ever intended.  It's her gift.  We don't paint nails A color, we do patterns, designs, multiple layers...you get the point.  

When I asked her a while back what kind of birthday party she chose a dolphin theme.  Check!  (I see pottery painting dolphins and a sheet cake with some blue "water" frosting and a dolphin drawn by Olivia.)  

Nope.  Not elaborate enough.  She went rummaging through the darn internet and found this photo:

I tried everything to dissuade her from this but her heart was set on a fondant cake.  (Fondant!!!  Isn't that the stuff they use on those crazy cake baking cook-off shows?)  well, knowing my mom would be here and she has baking superpowers, I agreed.

Sadly, the pottery painting place was closed the week of Christmas and thus the party would take place after Emma left.  Drat.

As the day approached, I did what anyone in my position would do.  I tried again to talk her out of it and started scanning the internet when it didn't work.  (I should mention here that I'm not a fan of cake, frosting, fondant or anything to do with making/eating them.  Some folks love this stuff, I'm not one of them.)

Here we go:

Bake cakes

Shave them flat (I have since learned that there exists a fabric strip that you can purchase on Amazon to wrap on the outside of your cake pans which will promote a perfectly even baking = no dome top.)  I won't be buying them because I don't intend to make a career out of this but maybe you need this information.

Make a batch of chocolate buttercream frosting.  



Refrigerate.  (Insert a night off here because this is enough caking for one day)

Wake up.  Check your Facebook page again for the sage advice from your baking savvy friends and start the marshmallow fondant.  This wasn't very hard (melt marshmallows and crisco in the microwave and then add a gob of powdered sugar)  BUT I realized at this point I had forgotten the water and when I achieved this resulting goop I was sure I had messed it up and sent Emily running next door for more marshmallows to start over. GRR.

While she was gone I read the part that said, at this point your fondant will be lumpy and sticky.  Hmmm, lets give it a try.  After a few minutes of kneading it with more sugar it morphed into this smooth dough!  Haha, success :)

Add color + more kneading to make it pink

And blue (who has grey food coloring??)  Cake people, that's who.

At this point, all those silly baking shows came in handy.  I just rolled it out, flopped it on the cake and started smoothing.  Full disclosure: I did learn that there are all sorts of fondant tools one should have - smoothers, cutters, rollers - pshaw, but again, you might be more serious about this than I.

Bad photo, my cake looks really crooked here but I assure you it wasn't.  Notice too how all that excess sugar just melted into the cake.  I was unsure how I was going to get that off but it took care of itself.  Magic!  

Makin waves!

Stick it on

Now at this point, you are getting impressed right?  Me too -  but I have my limits.  I was informed that to make the dolphin in the "inspiration" photo I would need gumpaste (fondant wouldn't hold up).  Sorry Miss Elaborate, you have just reached said limits.  Thankfully she was just as happy to reach in her Barbie drawer and pull out Zuma, the already pink, glittery plastic dolphin.  Plop.

Add the bubbles (edible candy coated chocolates) and we are done!

Happy 8 year old.  

I AM the cake boss!
I AM retired :)