As I sit here this morning and write this post, I’m crying.

No, I’m not being dramatic (for once), I’m crying  literal tears that I just didn’t see coming.

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You see, this is the very first day… in hundreds upon hundreds of days (over twelve years of them, to be precise), that I am alone in this house.

My littlest pixie (my Lucy) has started her first full day of kindergarten.

And I just didn’t see this coming.

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Yes, I knew she’d put on that (seriously) colorful backpack she picked out, and those pink, sparkly, light up, little velcro sneakers she HAD to have (*AHEM* ok, so maybe apples really DON’T fall too far from their trees), and I KNEW she’d walk down our driveway with her big brother and sisters to get on that mysterious yellow bus she’s been eyeing up for years now…

but what I DIDN’T know… what I just DIDN’T expect… is the avalanche of emotion that would overtake me as I sat down, just minutes ago, with my cup of tea… on my comfy couch… in this big house…

all alone.

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Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the aloneness that bothers me.  I’m not the type that needs people around 24/7.  In fact, I’ve been looking forward to some alone time in which to get some things accomplished , for a while now.

But… I’ve had at least one of these four babies of mine, by my side, with me each day for the last TWELVE YEARS.  And as I sit here and I look around, it hits me.  The “little” is all gone.  Only “big” remains.

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And that’s ok.  That’s the way it’s supposed to be, I know.  But “little” was the last twelve years of my life.  “Little” was what I knew.  Yes, it was hard at times.  (Often for looooong periods of times.)  But, it was sweet, too.  Heck, looking back, it was mostly sweet.  “Little” was pretty much my everything.

And while I know there will be so much more “sweet” to come… and while I’m positive that my heart will burst with love for this season of “big” just as much as it did with “little”… right now,  I am not in control of my emotions.  Joy, sadness, anger, worry… maybe even disgust… they’re ALL freaking out.  The alarms are going off.  The control room up in my brain is in a state of emergency.

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And yet, time continues to move along (at the speed of light)… the sun will set, and it will rise again in the morning, just like always.  Never slowing down.

So I will move along with it.  And Joy will get it together up there and reestablish her rein of the control center, I’m sure of it.  But I’d just like to pass along a tiny bit of advice to those of you out there whose lot currently lies in the heart of the “little”.  And here it is…

Stop.  Look around you.  Remember it… ALL.  Burn in into your brain, and do your VERY best to wake up each day deciding to enjoy every single second of it that you can.  ‘Cause ONE day, it WILL be gone.  And it may just blindside you.  And you’ll never get it back.

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“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” – Ecclesiastes 3

This is a good season.  One you will most likely miss more than you know.  Cherish it.

And don’t forget a brand new box of tissues for that morning… the one in which they ALL rush out the door.  EVEN if you think you’ve got it well under control. Xx

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This cake was made for my firstborn, Lily’s, twelfth birthday this summer.  She’s loves all things horse related, and she knew she wanted the cake to be fun and filled with color as well… so when we came across this watercolor zebra image on Pinterest, we just couldn’t resist using it as the inspiration for the cake.

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How to make a double barrel cake… (which is basically a double tall cake!)

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Ok, so we’re basically stacking two cake tiers (not layers, TIERS) on top of one another AND flush with each other, before they’re iced…

so you’re gonna need a cake card the size of the cake tins you used, to go in between the tiers (and also on the bottom of your tier that will end up being the bottom of your cake, of course, like normal.).

But you’re going to want to trim the one that will sit in the middle of the cake, down a bit so that the edges don’t get in the way when you ganache or buttercream the entire thing.

I just used my scissors and quickly cut about a half inch off all the way around.

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So here’s the bottom tier.  Before I stack the second tier on top of this one, I added my bubble tea cake straw supports just like I do when I construct a regular two tier cake.  (Though I used less supports than I normally do… only three this time for a six inch round.)

And don’t forget to add your icing to the top of this tier so the cake card you put on top will stick!

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Right, so then I popped my trimmed cake card on top of the support straws…

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And placed my 2nd tier, my top tier, on top of the cake card… nice and centered.

And for good measure (to try to keep it somewhat stable and all while icing the thing), I drove a wooden skewer down through the middle of it, and cut off the excess.

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Then, I just used my regular icing/ganaching method where I flip the cake over to get nice, sharp edges (see my free video tutorial on how this is done, here)…

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And then I covered it in fondant, the same way I normally do, after having had it chilled in the freezer for about 20 minutes.

I won’t lie here, it’s pretty nerve wracking covering it in fondant as it’s TWICE the height of a normal sized cake…

but I used my FAVORITE fondant, my tried and true Carma Massa Ticino fondant, and didn’t end up with one crack or blemish… and ZERO elephant skin.

I kid you not, Carma may just make the VERY best fondant in the WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD.  I simply can not express to you how much easier it’s made my fondant covering ventures since the very first time I used it and decided I was NEVER going to use another brand if I could help it.

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I’ve put together a quick time lapse video (at the top of the page) showing you how I created and painted this edible, water colored, gumpaste zebra plaque that I attached to the front of the cake with shortening.

 

In this video, I’m using my favorite Majestic Royal paint brushes, and two combined sets of my Wilton food coloring pens.

One set of the food coloring pens has the bold colors, and one set has the traditional colored pens.

And I mixed vodka in with my petal dusts to create the bold, bright colored paint I needed for in between the lines.

 

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The larger colored balls are real gumballs, and the smaller ones are sugar pearls (but rainbow sprinkles are a little bit cheaper and will do just as well!)

The pom pom and streamers are also edible and made of wafer paper.

I airbrushed the wafer paper to get those bold, bright colors, and then used my travel steamer on thin strips of them to make the bows and streamers.  (Click here for a free video on how I use my steamer to bend wafer paper into bows!)

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