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.


Paper Craft

October is a busy time in our house. There are birthdays galore, and I’m getting to the final stages of rehearsal for the musical I’m involved in, not to mention usual school activities and the rapid approach of the Half Term Holiday.

For ease of organisation, we’ve booked a party at a local Soft Play centre for my biggest Pumpkin’s 5th birthday. Not wanting to leave everything to an off-the-shelf feel though, I decided to hand make the invitations. The Soft Play centre has a castle theme, along with wizards, dragons and princesses, so I thought I could pick up on some of that for the invitations, and then hopefully later on, for the cake as well.

I wanted to keep things fairly simple, so it would be straightforward to produce around 15 invitations the same.


I started by sketching out a basic castle shape onto some card from an old cereal packet, which I then cut out to make a template. I wanted them to still have a hand-drawn quality, so I traced round the template using a pencil and then went over the lines freehand using a broad black felt-tip.


The stones were printed on using a small offcut of foam from some packaging material, which I cut to size. I used white paint, and then went over some of them again with black paint to give a bit of texture. When they were dry I outlined them using a fine black felt-tip.


The drawbridge was made using a piece of brown card cut just big enough to cover the print out with the party information, and glued in place. The finishing touch was a flag flying from the ramparts. Pumpkin wanted both red and yellow, so I did some of each. I cut a narrow triangle of thin coloured paper with a flap at one end for attaching, which I curled one way and then the other by running an open scissor blade along the paper to make it look like it was fluttering. They will no doubt get squished in the envelopes, but they looked good when I put them together anyway! Most of the castles just got one colour flag, but I had some left over, so some got a double one.


There were some other details that I considered adding – a number 5 on the flag, grass along the bottom of the walls, maybe a vine growing up a wall, but I ran out of time, and I was reluctant to do anything that might spoil them.

The other school mummies may think I’m nuts for going to so much effort for a party invitation, but I enjoyed the excuse to do a little design and crafting, and Pumpkin was delighted with them and so excited to give them out to his friends at school today, so I think it was worth it. Now I need to get thinking about his cake!