Interview with The Parentalist

Many moons ago, I reviewed Sarah & Andrew Spear's book My Little Geek. They recently launched a new website called "The Parentalist," and asked if I would speak with them. I had a lovely chat with Sarah, who didn't seem to mind one bit that I had a) not taken a shower and b) was extremely tired (as per usual.)

I love my Hello Kitty tote, don't you?


Rainbow Star Cake

Here's a cake I made for our friend Ella who turned two this month! This involved 10 bags of colored frosting, several star tips, and a lot of dishwashing. Dude. A LOT of dishwashing.


Snow Cone Syrup

Yesterday Vivi & I sent Vinny on a scavenger hunt for his Fathers Day gifts. One of them was a small snow cone machine. Yes it was an impulse buy, how could you tell? It didn't come with any flavorings, so when we fired it up yesterday, we used root beer & juice.

Today, Vivi was home sick from school, and so we made our own syrup.

4 cups sugar
5 cups water
Food coloring (a couple of drops)
Flavor of choice (oils, extracts whatcha got?)

Boil it until it's reduced to, uh... syrup.

We will also use these syrups to make lemonade this summer. And it's what I add to my batches of limoncello & orangecello about 40 days in. I like making this syrup with a handful of mint, straining it & using it for lemonade or sweet tea.

That is, when I allow myself sweet tea. I'm like a freaking junkie with that stuff so I stay away from it. Add mint and game over.

Black & White Cake

This used to be my favorite cake combination many moons ago. Bringing it back with the wedding cake recipe (almond extract & buttermilk make it a winner,) and a simple chocolate icing.

Quickie Fairy Garden Cupcakes

We whipped these up for our Memorial Day barbecue. Vivi wanted them to look like a fairy garden. White "wedding cake" cake with "wedding cake" frosting. The almond extract is what makes these so so so good. Plus: bonus chocolate rocks!

Mini Fairy House Tutorial

I posted a picture of some fairy houses that Vivi and I made last month, and a bunch of folks asked what we did, so I thought I'd share it here.

Bear with me, I'm doing this on my phone, because why not.

So, if you check out your local Michael's, they sell little wooden birdhouses for $1 each. I buy a few of these whenever I'm there, and keep them around for crafting in a pinch, they're really fun to pull out and paint or slap jewels & googly eyes on. I cut the hole out to make it into a door -and by "I", I mean "asked Vinny to do it because I'm a spaz."

Then we grabbed some of the Martha Stewart craft paints - around $2 a color $3 if you are fancy, and like glitter, as I, a very fancy lady, do.

I keep a box of pretty scrap paper laying around - when I find paper that I like- old wrapping paper, scrap paper, pictures from packages, old dust jacket covers, I throw it in there. Or, say I give a sheet of stickers to Vivs, and she sticks them on paper - I cut the paper up and put them in the box. Then if we are painting, we do some mixed media and stick the paper to the paint. We did that on Arrietty's & Tink's house - that's paper from a kitchen purchase, and the flowers on Tink's house are from a Duck & Goose dust jacket.

I'm constantly looking for things that can go in a fairy garden - the bird was $1.95 at a sewing store & the butterflies were .20 each at a party & notions store in DTLA. I occasionally stop into Goodwill and look for old teacups and teapots, and the sale table at anthropologie of all places has great cheap things to put in a garden - teacups & doorknobs & drawer pulls, among others. Fairy things are everywhere. So are things to put on a cake. You just have to shift your point of view.

The owl jingles - it's a Japanese cell phone charm. Japanese dollar store like Daiso are full of great things to hide in a yard, or put in a fairy house.

We painted them, then painted them again with glitter, then coated them with outdoor Mod Podge.

The nametags are Popsicle sticks, & I used letter stamps leftover from a baby shower. I'm sure it would be easy to use stencils. Or write it with a sharpie.

I have a board on Pinterest devoted to fairy gardens, and I'm sure you can find inspiration there too. (There's a Pinterest button in my sidebar) I'd love to see your creations, so please share.

Pixie Hollow Birthday Cake

I HAD to share this birthday cake that I made for Vivienne's birthday party. I HAD to. Because I am super proud of it, and I love it so much. Cake making is my jam. This year, Vivienne is way into the Disney Fairies - and it dawned on me during the summer months: "Oh shit. I am going to have to make Pixie Hollow."

So here it is - it's all edible except for the figures, the compass and the moonstone. (Both an homage to Lost Treasure.) I don't usually like to work with rolled fondant - it makes cakes look great, sure, but they taste like bleck. But Tinkerbell's house is a teapot and it needed to be smooth. And as long as I was working with fondant, I figured, why not make some green leaves for the top of the house. Otherwise it's all buttercream or royal icing. In fact, I made all the little royal icing flowers all over the house and in Rosetta's garden.

And if you're wondering what the biggest pain was - it was the rainbow. Coloring tiny batches of icing - only enough to make one part of the bow, then having to wash the tip after ever color and prep a new bag... blerrrrrg.

overview of the cake

Detail of Fawn

back of Tink's house

The moonstone!

Front of Tink's house (minus the teapot lid) with compass

Silvermist next to a waterfall surrounded by chocolate rocks.

Rosetta in her garden

Iridessa and her Rainbow.

Tink's house and the hills/stumps are cake, but that wasn't enough for the number of guests, so I also made rainbow cupcakes with pixie dusted tops.