Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chic Designer Print Cupcake Cookies - Online Auction #AFundForJennie

#afundforjenny chic designer print cupcake cookies auction
- an event in which one or more losses, usually of human life, occurs that is viewed as mournful; a disastrous event.

We all know the definition of a tragedy, and yet when one blindsides us, we are left speechless. Who do we turn to for comfort? How do we comfort those experiencing the loss the most? How do we calm ourselves enough to sleep at night and then wake up the next morning to face the day?

I don't have the answers to those questions, and that's not the point of this blog post. The focus of this post is to hold an online auction for hand-decorated cookies to raise money for a fellow food blogger, Jennie, whose family has recently been struck by a tragedy.

But I would like to pause right here and pay some respect to 2 other tragedies that have touched my life this week. First of all, my Grandpa, who was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in 2007 and has fought a long, hard battle, is finally fading away. His body just has no strength left. He is primarily unconscious due to pain medications, but I pray that the Lord takes him soon so he experiences ultimate relief. I also pray for my Grandma and family members who are standing by watching him slowly slip away. Is it harder to cope with death when you have time to say goodbye or when you don't? I think they're equally painful...but very different...

The other tragedy is for someone I didn't get a chance to know very well. A woman in the Ocala Cake Club and her husband were recently struck by a head-on collision, leaving behind 3 children. Again, I'm speechless. I don't even know how to begin to help...or wait, can anything I do really help??? Still, my thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved.

And now back to the blog post at hand. Jennie's husband was recently killed by a massive heart attack while he was outside playing with his daughters. Members of the food blogging world immediately stepped up to comfort her, sending her Tweets, Facebook messages, emails, and comments on her blog. The outpouring of love was simply amazing.

But, now reality hits. Words of encouragement will only go so far. Jennie's husband's insurance coverage expires in December and the new insurance coverage will cost more than her mortgage. And let's not forget all the other month-to-month bills she'll have to cover on her own. In response to this news, the food bloggers have formed Bloggers Without Borders and are holding many, many online auctions to raise funds for her and her daughters. I won't go into details here, but just do a search for #AFundForJennie or check out Jennie's blog if you want to see what everyone is doing for her.

Donate to Bloggers Without Borders

Now, it's my turn. I am auctioning off 2 dozen decorated sugar cookies. These cookies are made from scratch and hand-decorated with chic, designer prints and royal icing (pictured below, although colors and patterns may vary).

My friend Julie just auctioned off some decorated cookies on her blog. She got $65 for 2 dozen. But I'm competitive - let's beat that! How high can we go? And let's just say that if the bidding goes beyond $100, I'll do something extra special for the winner! So help spread the word about the auction and let's raise some moo-la for Jennie and her girls.

#afundforjenny chic designer print cupcake cookies auction
Action Details: I'll start the bidding at $40! Leave a comment below with your bid. (Please be sure your bid is at least $1 more than the previous bid.) 2 dozen cupcake-shaped decorated sugar cookies will be shipped to the highest bidder within 2-4 weeks donation is received. Donation will be made directly to Bloggers without Borders for the #AFundForJennie fund with 100% of the donation going directly to Jennie and her girls.

Bidding will end at 11:59 PM EST on Wednesday, September 7th. At the conclusion of the auction, I will contact the winner to assist with his/her donation to Bloggers Without Borders.

*If you'd like to donate via the Bloggers Without Borders button above and use PayPal, Bloggers without Borders is asking you to use the instant transfer via your bank account. This will allow them to avoid the PayPal fees and will allow your entire donation to go directly to Jennie and her girls.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chic Designer Print Cookies

I've been experimenting with combining edible prints with cookies lately. Here's a sneak peak at some of my successful attempts. Warning: These cookies are a bit racy, and may give a new meaning to Wednesday (today) being "hump day." *wink*

chic designer print bustier leopard pink polka dot blue polka dot bustier cookies photofrost
For these bustier cookies, I used blue polka dot, leopard print, and pink polka dot edible prints from my PhotoFrost printing system. The rest of the decorations were done with royal icing.

chic designer print bustier leopard pink polka dot blue polka dot bustier cookies photofrost
Stay tuned for more edible print cookies coming soon!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Masquerade 50th Birthday Cake!

You may remember in March 2011, I helped plan the 2011 Florida ICED Cake Competition with my friend Lisa. Well, Lisa turned 50 in April and her hubby (and some amazing friends) planned a surprise party for her! When they asked me to make her birthday cake, I was thrilled! ...and then very nervous... How do you make a birthday cake for someone who makes cakes for a living?! It's only natural for her to notice all the flaws...The pressure was on!

Lisa loves all things masquerade so that was the theme of the party.

50th masquerade birthday cake mardis gras green purple white black gold
I carved each of the 3 cake tiers so they had a bit more of a whimsical, playful feel than simple straight edges. The whole cake was covered in white fondant, and I used Mardis Gras colors (green, purple, black, and gold) to decorate it.

50th masquerade birthday cake mardis gras green purple white black gold
The mask on top was created out of gum paste, and the feathers (sorry, not edible) were purchased at craft & party stores around town. A word of warning: If you're creating a cake that needs feathers after Mardis Gras, start your search early! It took forever for me to find enough feathers for this cake!

50th masquerade birthday cake mardis gras green purple white black gold
And Lisa's name and the "50" at the bottom of the cake were also created out of gum paste and glued in place with royal icing.

50th masquerade birthday cake mardis gras green purple white black gold
Coincidentally, Masquerade is also the theme of the 2012 Florida ICED Cake Competition on March 31 and April 1, 2012! I will be there as one of the judges and will be doing two demos, one on Saturday and one on Sunday (topics TBD). Check out the photos from this year's competition and start making your plans to be there next year! Want to enter? Be sure to read the rules carefully and consider my tips for successfully entering and WINNING cake decorating competitions!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Anniversary Cookie Bouquet

My Aunt Debbie recently shared a photo of a cookie bouquet she ordered for my cousin's birthday and it reminded me that I never showed you this bouquet!

wedding anniversary cookie bouquet
I made this one for my in-laws' 30th wedding anniversary a few weeks ago. The bouquet featured 2 champagne glasses, 3 red roses, 1 "Happy Anniversary" heart, and 1 bottle of champagne displaying the year 1981.

Then, my mother-in-law Leona wanted me to take a good picture of the 2 of them. Before you see the pictures, it's important for you to know that we were eating at Malio's Prime Steakhouse in Tampa. It's a fancy restaurant with spectacular food!

Ok, ignore my lack of camera skills in less than ideal photography conditions...

But I picked up the camera, counted to 3, and this is the shot I get:

Ok...let's try again...

Not a horrible shot, but why must we always pose with our alcoholic beverages? And J-Dawg (that's what I call my father-in-law) looks less than thrilled to be there. Third time's the charm, right?

Hm...maybe not...Ok, let's try ONE more time. We give Leona a little pep talk about calming down and looking "normal." I pick up the camera again, assured that this will be a good photo!

But, now we've lost J-Dawg...

I give up.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Diaper Bag Baby Shower Cake

Last weekend, Adam's mom threw us another baby shower! There were so many people there to talk to and so much good food to eat that I didn't take a single photo at the shower. Whoops! I can't believe it! So I have no new baby bump photos to share with you, but I do have a gazillion photos of the cake!

It's the first official cake for Mikaela from Mommy! In other words, I made it. I spent almost all day Friday working on it because I wanted it to be just perfect for her.

The cake itself was shaped like a giant diaper bag and had a layer of chocolate cake, a layer of vanilla cake, and guava filling. The baby shower was held at Cafe Nuevo in Tampa (yum!) so I thought it was appropriate to have guava filling.

diaper bag baby shower cake edible baby shoes teether rattle
diaper bag baby shower cake edible baby shoes teether rattle
diaper bag baby shower cake edible baby shoes teether rattle
I made a tag for the bag and wrote "Mikaela" on it so it looked like we were ready to drop her off at day care. Although, I don't know if she'll ever go to day care with 2 sets of grandparents dying to babysit. *wink*

diaper bag baby shower cake edible baby shoes teether rattle
And I made a couple of pairs of shoes using cutters from Cakes N'Supplies by Ximena. Love them! I made these late at night on Thursday so they came out a little sloppier than I'd hoped...I think my eyes had started going cross-eyed...but the cake wouldn't have been complete without them! In fact, Taylor, who came over to help me deliver the garbage truck cake & cookies, helped me by making the buttons and cutting out the Converse logos. Perfectly done!

diaper bag baby shower cake edible baby shoes teether rattle
Then I made a key teether set using another cutter from Cakes N'Supplies by Ximena. So cute! And I had to make some safety pins to represent the fact that we're going to use cloth diapers for Mikaela.

diaper bag baby shower cake edible baby shoes teether rattle
And after we finished putting all the accessories on the board, Taylor and I noticed a blank spot towards the back. Oh no! That will not do! But Taylor came to the rescue and made this adorable baby rattle to fill the spot!

diaper bag baby shower cake edible baby shoes teether rattle
My due date is only 7 weeks away now and we can't wait to meet Mikaela!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Contests: 1 To Enter, 1 To Help Me Win!

I've got a couple of contests to tell you about today!

First of all, if you've ever dabbled in cake decorating, enter your beach-themed cake into an online contest on Cakes We Bake by August 23, 2011. The rules of the contest can be found here. I just entered a cake Debbie and I did for a friend's wedding in early May:

sand castle wedding cake
After all the entries have been received, you'll have a chance to go back and "favorite" the ones you want to win! Good luck!

Secondly, I've entered a contest that I would LOVE to win! The contest is hosted by Elise Kersey Photography, and I had to submit my idea for a "dream photo shoot." Of course, mine involved our future baby, Mikaela, and baking!

Here's my idea:

"I just opened a custom cake shop, and I'm my happiest when I'm in the kitchen elbow-deep in cake batter or powdered sugar. The only thing that can top my fun time in the kitchen is spending time with my husband and our baby girl, Mikaela. I would love to capture some photos of me and Mikaela working on some sweets together in our home kitchen. I'm thinking they can be shot with a sort of vintage, home-style feel. Picture some old 1950s photos of women working in the kitchen...but we'll modernize it by adding some subtle color, softening the focus, and - of course - using my KitchenAid mixer! We'd have powdered sugar on our cheeks and noses, bare feet, matching aprons, and you can hear our giggles coming through the photo."

To help me win, just "like" my idea on the contest page on Facebook. Share it with your friends! The idea with the most "likes" gets extra entries in the random raffle drawing to choose the winner.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Garbage Truck Cake & Cookies

Last week, I had the privilege of making a cake and cookie favors for a very cute little boy's birthday.

Apparently, West is really into garbage trucks! He gets excited when they come to pick up his family's trash or recycling. In fact, the week of his birthday, they even let him help dump the recycling in the truck! How cool is that?!

So when his Mom contacted me to order his birthday cake, they (of course) wanted a garbage truck. We designed the cake based on photos of cakes she liked as well as photos of their local garbage truck. There were a few specific requests though. West wanted to make sure the cake had a front-end lift for garbage pick-up, not the traditional back loader, since that's what their local truck has. And he also preferred 3 wheels rather than 2. In addition, they wanted a yellow caution light on the top of the cake near the back, a number 4 somewhere on it, and "Happy 4th Birthday West!"

garbage truck birthday cake cookies
And you see that awesome logo "West Waste"? West's father made that logo, resembling their local trash pick-up company, to coordinate with West's Halloween costume last year. So the logo was a MUST on the cake!

garbage truck birthday cake cookies
The wheels were made of Rice Krispies Treats covered in fondant, but everything else you see is CAKE! The cake was covered with green or white buttercream and the decorations were done with fondant. And the cake flavor? Vanilla cake with Bavarian cream filling - yum!

West's Mom also ordered some garbage truck cookie favors for each of the party attendees. They were mini versions of the cake and were personalized with each person's name.

garbage truck birthday cake cookiesgarbage truck birthday cake cookies
Look, it's like a momma truck and a baby truck!

garbage truck birthday cake cookies
Happy Birthday, West!