PAW Patrol is on a roll!

So, we finally made it! Pickle’s birthday party, take two. Which means; cake, take two.

The cake has spent the last two weeks in the freezer, carefully wrapped in several layers of cling film. I got it out on Wednesday evening and left it in the fridge overnight. On Thursday I left it on the kitchen worktop during the daytime to ensure it was fully defrosted, then back in the fridge overnight to keep it fresh until I needed it on Friday. I was a little concerned that the fondant icing might have gone a little sticky, but I carefully cut the wrapping off once it was at room temperature and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was as smooth and dry to the touch as it had been before freezing.

My next concern was the taste and consistency of the actual cake. Of course there was nothing I could do about that until the cake was cut. Fortunately, it smelt and tasted delicious and the texture was just what it should have been so I needn’t have worried at all. I would certainly freeze a cake again in future. It would help enormously when timings were difficult.

So, on to the decoration. Pickle has recently become a big fan of Paw Patrol, so thats what we went with.

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The mini figurines were bought from a local supermarket. I used a printout of the Paw Patrol logo as a template for cutting out fondant and built it up in sections.

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I used a food colouring pen to do the lettering and fill in details.

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The pups were a big hit once they climbed down off the cake too.

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All change!

We’ve been in the new house for around a month now, and loving it! Boxes are mostly unpacked, homes still need to be found for various things, but we have so much more space, it’s wonderful!

Pumpkin had his birthday party last week. He’s very into Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the moment; he got a Chitty book as a gift from his godmother, and we’d arranged to take him to see the touring stage production too, but having googled for inspiration, I thought a Chitty cake was a step too far, so I left her in the theatre and had a rethink. Fortunately, he’s also very into Minecraft, so I went very meta and made him a Minecraft Cake cake.

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Simple, but effective. Appreciated and totally yummy!

The area we’ve moved to has a lot more trees around us, so the autumn colours have been spectacular, but it also creates a lot more work for us as we have to keep raking the leaves up regularly. It’s a new challenge, but it’s nice to be out in the garden, appreciating the fresh air and extra space.

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These leaves have got me thinking about the grad yarn I bought at Unravel this year, but I’ve got far too many projects under way already that I need to finish.

The needle tips I was using for my Stripes Gone Crazy were pilfered back to their former project  – a pair of fingerless gloves for the hubby. His hands suffer in the cold, so he’s in desperate need of them, since he lost his last pair on a train at the end of last winter. Unfortunately, my hands also suffer in the cold, so knitting hasn’t always been possible, despite having it tucked in my handbag ready for any opportunity! Still, slow progress is better than no progress, right!?

Distractions again

Normal services appear not to be resuming.

I’ve not picked up a crochet hook or knitting needles for a good couple of weeks now. The mega-cold has at least subsided at long last, though Pickle did indeed come down with chicken pox at about the predicted time, so illness accounts for the break to a certain degree. We’ve also been away, spending time with family and celebrating various family birthdays.

I had grand ideas for a birthday cake for Pickle. He’s very into diggers at the moment, so I thought something along those lines would go down a treat. Unfortunately, given he was poxy and I was still under the weather, we had no guests to help us celebrate and eat a huge cake, so I went for something much simpler and baked some simple cupcakes with the boys in the afternoon. I dug out some fun cupcake cases and toppers, and they enjoyed helping with the weighing and stirring, and sticking the toppers in at the end.

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I also made a cake for our family gathering and my mum’s birthday celebration, but utterly failed to take any pictures of it, so you’ll just have to imagine it – think ‘death by chocolate’ and you might be close!

I’ve definitely hit a road-block in my knitting. I’m determined to get my cardigan finished before I start any new projects. I only have the button-hole band left to do. I know it will be pretty straightforward once I actually get going on it, but somehow, somehow I just can’t bring myself to pick it up and work on it. The pattern doesn’t give any instructions on how to make the buttonholes, or how to space them, so I think I’m stuck on that. I’ve looked up various tutorials online, but am still unsure how to go about it. Any suggestions gratefully received. I really want it done so I can start a new project!

IMG_3409I’ve also been a little distracted by other things – the nice weather has drawn me outside much more recently. Pickle loves to be outside, so we go out in the garden, or off to the park as often as we can. Just look at my beautiful tulips! they make me happy.

I am also going through a reading phase at the moment. I absolutely love to read, but don’t find the time to do it so much these days. Grown up responsibilities and other hobbies have a habit of getting in the way! So I tend to go through phases where I’ll read several books in quick succession, and then nothing for several months. Recently I’ve read Stardust by Neil Gaiman, and I’m working my way through the Nikki Heat series by Richard Castle, which are a tie-in to the TV series ‘Castle’ that my husband and I are watching. I’m not much good at writing reviews, suffice to say we love the series and the characters, and the books work really well alongside the TV show. I’d recommend checking it out if you don’t know it.

I’m up to book 6 in the series, which I think is the last one that’s available at the moment, so I’ll probably reach the end of my reading phase with the end of this book, and then go back to knitting so I actually have something to show you again.

What other hobbies do you have that distract you from your knitting?

Whirlwind

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of cakes and rehearsals, car troubles, birthdays (cake), theatre (cake), new car and a party tomorrow (more cake!), with a little knitting thrown in where time has allowed.

The show was brilliant. It felt so good to be out on a big stage again, with all the trimmings in place. The set was fab – it took some adjustment from rehearsal room to stage space, but it looked fantastic and was so great to work on. Costumes, props, lights, a full band on stage, dressing room shenanigans and cast cameraderie. I made cupcakes as a good luck/thank you gift for the cast and crew which went down rather well.

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I honestly loved every second. It was like a weird blast from the past and a very enjoyable present. I’ve got a week off now before we go into pre-audition workshops for the next musical which will be presented next May.

Not that I’ve really got time off.

Pumpkin had his birthday during the half term holiday and we had a very small gathering of friends and family to celebrate. I made a quick birthday cake, which turned out very well and was rather effective, given its simplicity.

IMAG2059It was just a simple chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream icing. I baked a square cake which I cut in half and stacked to make the bottom part of the chest, and then a loaf cake for the lid. I sliced a little off the edges of the loaf cake to make the lid more curved, and I sliced a little off the lower back corner so that it would have a flat edge to rest on still when it propped up. I stuffed the front edge with gold and silver covered chocolate coins (thank goodness the Christmas stuff is out in the shops already!), using buttercream to stick them in place, and used various sweets to decorate it. The ‘sand’ is made from crushed shortbread biscuits and liberally sprinkled with jelly bean, smartie and chocolate coin treasure. Pumpkin and his friends loved it!

The big birthday party is happening tomorrow, and the cake is well under way. I just hope I don’t end up staying up too late tonight making it. My poor brain is feeling pretty frazzled. I’d better get on with it I suppose.

More on the cake and knitting next time.