As a cake decorator I spend quite a bit of time looking at other peoples wonderful creations. I have seen and been in awe of dessert tables and loving that it is not just the cake but the whole table is themed as well. So this definately had to go on the list. Just one problem, either I had to wait for one of my customers to order one or I had to create one for myself. I decided that I couldn’t sit there waiting for that dessert table order to come in so I decided to do one for myself. I just needed an occasion. I know … my birthday.
Well my theme was easy. You guessed it … Teal. I thought that my converted mirror/blackboard would make the perfect backdrop. I then hit pinterest/google hard to be inspired. My invitations were designed and sent out, menu was planned, special items were ordered, I sewed a tablecloth, painted some milk bottles, made some flowers and put my shopping list together. All I needed to do now was shop, bake and create. My lovely friend Karen came up for the weekend and helped me with everything. It was so much fun doing this with someone who enjoyed the process as much as I did. Most of my friends were asking what they could bring and were wondering why I wanted to do everything myself. They didn’t understand why I would want to spend my birthday preparing and putting this party all together. In my mind it was a birthday present to myself.
What a lovely afternoon it was, celebrating with some special friends. It made me realise how blessed I am to have each and every one of them in my life. The blackboard says it all “In the cookie of life, Friends are the chocolate Chips”.
The Dessert Table
Some of the sweet treats
The only pic I had showing some of the tablecloth I made
I had to match the drink with the theme
I was so excited to find some bubbles that had the same name as my business (although spelt differently)
A little gift for each guest
I thought I would get a little crafty this year and explore my creativity outside of cakes. My first project was to do a blackboard for my kitchen. I was inspired when I was at my friend Keren’s house and she had painted one side of her kitchen wall with blackboard paint. I would have really loved to have done this too but as I am renting I didn’t think it would go down well at my next house inspection. So I needed to do something less permanent.
While being lost in wold of Pinterest I found a cool idea that involved getting a framed mirror and converting it to a blackboard. I found the perfect mirror in Target. Then I just needed to get some acrylic paint in my favourite colour and pick up the leftover blackboard paint from my Keren.
I had another purpose for this blackboard before it would be hung on my kitchen wall (all will be revealed next post). Once the perfect quote was found and the blackboard was finished I took it over to Keren’s so she could write the first message on it. She has such beautiful handwriting and I knew she would be perfect for the job.
My “Before” shot
Painting it my favorite colour
It’s looking purdy
My “After” picture with it hanging on my kitchen wall
My mum introduced me to a BBC series “Call the Midwife,” which is set in the 1950s in the East End of London around a group of midwives. We both fell in love with one of the midwives called Chummy or her formal title Nurse Camilla Fortescue-Cholmondeley-Browne. She was only ever called that when she was in trouble and that was quite often. Chummy is played by English actor Miranda Hart. Her character was a very tall and awkward midwife with low self confidence who had the biggest heart. You felt sorry for her but at the same time you just wanted to sit down with her and spend the afternoon chatting over tea and scones.
Mum and I then got addicted to the Comedy series “Miranda”. She still plays a tall, physically and socially awkward character. Several times in each episode she just does something or says something that if that was you, you would just die of embarrassment and want a big hole in the ground to swallow you up. But is it wrong that I am belly laughing at the same time?
When I saw that Miranda Hart was coming to Melbourne to do a stand up comedy show titled “Work in Progress” I booked 2 tickets. I decided that the other one was going to be for my Mum for Christmas. From memory I think I had booked the tickets in October and then had to wait, and bite my tongue until Christmas. Mums face when she saw the tickets was priceless.
Finally February 10th arrived. I had had a really bad week and an even worse day that day and even thought about not going as I wouldn’t be very good company. Thank goodness I decided to put my troubles aside and we went on our merry way to the Athenaeum Theatre. What a show. I think I was laughing the whole time. Even in the interval we were laughing again at what we were laughing about in the show. You could tell she had a very basic outline of how the show would go but she involved the audience and would go off in a tangent in relation to what audience members had said. I think that takes quite a bit of talent.
I left the theatre with a smile on my face and happy hormones running though my body. The moral of the night was to just be true to ourselves, embrace and even own our awkwardness and to just laugh at all those embarrassing moments and remember that we are never going to be perfect as we are a “Work in Progress”.
I have always wished I could sing, I used to dream of being picked for a lead role in one of our high school musicals (not to be confused with a series of movies by the same name). I am not sure how I got away with it but in year 7 I auditioned for a year 7-9 musical event. The auditions were held in groups and I sung as softly as I could so as to be drowned out by the others in my group. Somehow I managed to be selected for the chorus in the year 7 number. I remember having to be one of several frogs on lily pads singing Rainbow Connection. I got away with singing softly on stage too.
Where I didn’t get away with singing softly was in my music exams for the Flute. I used to do really well with all the “flute stuff”, but there was always an examinable aural section in each and every exam. I remember having to sing the high or low note of two notes being played on the piano or a short piano tune being played and having to sing that tune back to the examiner. I was always downgraded in this section and each and every time I protested that I played the flute because I couldn’t sing so why should I loose points on a flute exam just because I can’t sing.
So, this isn’t the first time I have been to Karaoke. I have been happy to be an audience member and been in awe of those that could sing or admired those that had the courage to get up and sing and sounded horrible. On the odd occasion I did get up it was always with a group and I always lip synced. If it was good enough for Milli Vanilli, it was good enough for me.
After work one Thursday night two workmates dragged me across to the local bowling alley that has a private karaoke room complete with a prop box. The website stated that there was a charge for the prop box but upon booking the room was told that it was included. I can now see why as there were only a couple of hats in the box.
In a flash Emma and Mengsha picked up the microphones and started belting numbers out. I had to sit back, drink a cider for dutch courage and contemplate the challenge that I had set myself – to actually sing and not lip sync. With loads of encouragement from the girls I got up and at first softly sung into the microphone and then thought who cares and started belting it out. It was loads of fun and I didn’t care that I couldn’t really sing and it didn’t seem to bother the girls. We had a blast and my favourite songs were singing “Under the Sea” putting on funny voices and “I’m a Barbie GIrl” and swapping the voices so Barbies voice was deep like she had been taking too many roids and Ken’s voice was high pitched like he had been kicked where it hurts.
So “The Voice” auditions here I come……. NOT. I will be in awe of those that can sing and admire those that have the courage to get up and sing when they sound horrible. But as far as me auditioning, I think I shall pass.
I just love it when I get the opportunity to play around in the Cakes by Karen kitchen. So when I was staying at Karen’s place for the Australia Day weekend it was a no brainer to help out in the kitchen and bake some desserts for her Austraila Day BBQ.
Here are some pics that show the antics of the day.
The Chief Taste Tester
“This is a bit different to mud cake”
“Opps I made too much”
“If I hide under here Mum won’t see that I have eaten the last Tim Tam”
“Do you think we have enough chocolate?”
Sienna and her apprentice taste tester
Karaoke Cakes By Karen style
Another 80’s classic to sing
“No more desserts to taste – I might hang out in the pink room and make towers”
“Taste testing is such a hard job. Wake me up Lis when the next one is ready to taste”
“Oh no – I was too busy singing Madonna’s Like a Prayer, and I turned cream into butter”
Cherry Honeycomb Pavlova, Chocolate Eclair Cake, Lamington Cake and Tim Tam Cake
Happy 2014 to you all. I hope you are all excited about this year and ready to take on whatever this year decides to throw at us.
Every year, right around this time, I am usually feeling a little down as by now I have already failed multiple times over those unattainable New Years Resolutions that I set the previous year.
Last year Emma who can best be described as “Little Miss Sunshine”, joined our team at work. She had created a “List” of things that she wanted to achieve during that year and blogged about the whole process. Some of these things were fun random things such as hitting a Pinata, or popping a champagne cork through to challenges like running a half marathon or building something from Ikea.
Late last year when driving to Venus Bay for my much needed holiday, the idea came into my head that maybe I should do up a “List” of my own. Not of unattainable New Years Resolutions that get dumped before the end of January but a list that would comprise of attainable challenges, fun and random things and all those “To Do’s” that I have been saying for years that I should do but never do. I thought it would also be a fun thing to blog about it as well and if no one ever reads it, it would still be great to look over it at the end of the year and reflect on all the “To Do’s” that I did that year. Maybe it might even inspire you to make a list of your own?
So I have made my list. Every time I have mentioned wistfully “I would love to do that” my friends response has been to shout at me “Put it on the list”, and put it on the list I did.
Feel free to have a look over my list. There might even be some things that you might like to do with me. Let me know :-).
1. Donate blood
2. Host a dinner party
3. Host a cocktail party
4. Go camping
5. Cook fish
6. Host a high tea
7. Go to a farmers market and buy produce to make something
8. Develop Knife skills
9. Do a cooking class
10. 5km run
11. 10km run
12. Go to a jazz night
13. Go to Zoo Twilights
14. Go to a comedy show
15. Make bread
16. Do another cake class at Cakes by Karen
17. Do a dancing class
18. Make canvas prints for house
19. Design and sew some cushions for my couches
20. Make a herb garden
21. Make a blackboard for the kitchen
22. Buy Balderdash and have a games night
23. Paint pantry doors
24. Do old-fashioned photo wall
25. Do fridge decoration
26. Do the 1000 steps
27. Make pasta from scratch
28. Write some encouragement cards
29. See an old movie at the Astor
30. Indian night – have Indian and see a Bollywood film
31. See a Musical
32. Make macarons from my Pierre Hermé macaron book
33. See fairy penguins parade
34. Make a croquembouche
35. Go to an art gallery
36. Go to a cafe read, the paper and have breakfast and coffee by myself
37. 80’s night club with Jane
38. Go on a cruise with Karen
39. This one will be revealed when I complete it
40. Host a Eurovision party.
41. Make a quilt
42. Go to the ballet
43. Go to the Brown Brothers Festival
44. Cook a complex MasterChef dish
45. Go to Burch and Purchese
46. Cook 1 recipe from each of Donna Hay magazines
47. Go to an AFL game
48. Go for a bike ride
49. Go to Red Hill Market
50. Go to Josie Bones
51. Host a brunch
52. Make a complex layer cake
53. Go on a long hike somewhere
54. Go to an orchestral performance
55. Paint kitchen trolley
56. Go through my camera for dummies book
57. Start gratitude book
58. Go to a film festival
59. Set up a Pinterest and Instagram page for my business Fleur De Lis Edible Creations
60. Go to a drive in
61. Put some more plants out on my balcony
62. Host a Sunday roast
63. Cook with an ingredient I haven’t used before
64. Go to a play
65. Go to a subtitled movie
66. Do a Dessert Table
67. Go to Future Music Festival
68. Make some goodies with Karen in the Cakes by Karen kitchen for an Australia Day BBQ