Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Happy Secretary's Day!

Yes, yes, I know many people are calling this Administrative Assistant's Day.  But see, I got admonished once for that, by a secretary at a prior firm.  Her take on it was that "legal secretary" is a perfectly good and respectable title, and she'd earned it.  I tend to agree, and don't particularly see the title "secretary" as anything negative.  As a lawyer, I know I could never practice nearly as well, efficiently, or effectively without a good secretary.

My firm doesn't have good secretaries, though.  It's got awesome secretaries.

So since this is my first Secretary's Day with this firm, I decided to go personal and general at the same time.  I'm giving each staff member a different floral card I myself made from photographs I took.  The tough thing about them is that they're blank inside, and I'm not so great at writing out cards like that.  Shocking, considering how verbose I am, huh?

For the gift?  I baked a cake!  Chocolate fudge cake with homemade vanilla buttercream.

I had to ice the cake and then fridge it so I could smooth it down before using... betcha guessed it... fondant!  My very first real fondant cake!

To decorate it, I made tiny flowers and leaves.  Each flower has a center of a single sugar pearl, and the large ones I brushed with silver pearl dust.  Each one is a little different, as they're hand curled, both flowers and leaves.  And I used color powders to tint the white vanilla fondant into pink, purple, and yellow flowers, and green leaves.

Since I did a square cake and really liked the idea of a gift box, I also made a yellow and green marbled bow.

Then it was time to smooth the buttercream and cover the cake.  I decided to leave the base fondant white.

Once it was covered in fondant, I added green pearl dust swirls and a green and yellow marbled (and textured) ribbon.

Then the bow, which looked pretty nifty once on the cake, if I do say so myself.

And then all those flowers and leaves I made?  The majority of them ended up on the cake.  I might've missed the mark with regard to the "less is more" school of thought, but considering the fact that this is my very first real fondant cake, I think I did a pretty good job.

Can't wait to bring it in tomorrow!

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Artist Spotlight: Part Forty-Five

I have an absolutely phenomenal jewelry artist for you this week, Simbelmyne of Intentional Stones.

She's a stay-at-home mom who runs the business together with her friend, Mina.  Both are into meditation, gemstones, and metalworking.  Man, does it pay off!

Although they're out of Pittsburgh, Simbelmyne is crazy enough to have picked up her family and taken them to Australia for 6 months.  I'm so jealous!

Much as I want to visit Australia, though, I'm not built for her life of exploration and flexibility.  I'd like to think I touch on the creativity she seeks, but the freewheeling lifestyle... that takes a kind of bravery I simply haven't got.

I seriously respect it, though.  Who wouldn't?

As Simbelmyne puts it, when she started using gemstones she knew she'd found her artistic direction, giving her a way to provide wearable art and harness the spiritual effects of the stones.

If you're in the Pittsburgh area, you might get to see some of these wonderful pieces in person.  This past Saturday, Simbelmyne and Mina represented Intentional Stones at their first event of the season, the Spring Heritage Market at the Pump House.

Of course, that means I envy those of you in Pittsburgh about as much as I envy Simbelmyne's time in Australia.  As for me, I'll just have to console myself with perusing her shop and blog.

Beer Garden Update

They'll definitely be taking over our bodies in our sleep.  They're growing at an alarming rate!

Look at that one with the shoot!

Sunday, April 24, 2011


It's a mouse!

I loved the fabric combination of the elephant I'd made, so I wanted to use it again on something else.  This mouse was perfect!  I started with the pieces.

And sewed together the head first, and stuffed it.

And gave it a face, of course.  Then the body.

Creepy, right?  Looks much better all sewn together!

These are faster than the elephant.  I may have to make more of 'em!

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