Monday, February 25, 2013

Cake Pops VS Gravity

I promised my daughter we would try out the cake pop maker from Santa after the sugar induced coma of the holiday season wore off.  And then I promised myself I would keep that promise as soon as our elementary school fundraiser (my full-time volunteer head-ache) had passed.  So, on Feb. 12, I gathered all the necessary supplies- sticks, wrappers, candy melts, sprinkles, and I unpacked the machine.  While she was at school, I prepared our pink rotating cake pop baker for its maiden voyage.

We followed all the tips and directions.  We chilled the cake balls and dipped the sticks in melted coating before inserting them into the well chilled, but not frozen, confections.  We chilled the cake pops again, per instructions.  And still we met with mishaps and misfortune!  The first indicator (besides the unspoken law of the crafting/cooking/building universe- “it’s never as simple as it looks”) that our cake pops would not resemble the perfect sugary spheres in the book appeared when we dipped our very first cake pop into the coffee mug of melted candy coating.  Our first attempt resulted in a coating so thick it fell off in great chunks.  And because our optimism had high-jacked our common sense, we poured our heart shaped sprinkles into the still molten pink lava flow of candy coating.   (The book TOLD us to put the sprinkles on while the coating was still warm.)  Heart shaped boulders slid down the surface of the cake ball gathering more hearts and more coating until the sugary sludge dropped from the cake ball.

We couldn’t be discouraged.  After all, it was only our first cake pop.  Ever the problem solver, I decided we needed shortening in our candy melts.  So, I added more candy melts, some Crisco, popped the mug back into the microwave and prepared to try again.  This seemed to work a little better, though we had to work quickly.  After dipping all the cake balls and placing them in their holders we watched the balls begin to drop.  Just like the New Year’s orb, these round confectionary spheres slithered straight down.  But unlike the celebratory ball drop which always ends in confetti, fireworks, and cheers, our little orbs left only crumb coated sticks rooted firmly in mounds of pink sugared cake and a sigh of resignation from its audience.

We only lost three to gravity- so I guess the experiment succeeded.  The next morning my daughter tied red ribbons on a few and gifted them- proudly.  She claimed that they looked just like the ones we buy at the bakery.  (Thank goodness for cellophane bags and ribbon!)  Did I mention that I found a bowl of forgotten cake balls in the freezer a week later?  Poor things never even had the chance to become beautiful cake pops.  That was Valentines.  I can only imagine what St. Patrick’s Day will bring.  If you have any tips for us before then, we could sure use some along with a little luck.
 Defy gravity!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


This strange point of view illustrates the varying heights of each block.

It feels great to get back to this space.  I’ve been away for so long.  What’s funny is it’s not a physical space I missed- no matter how hard I try to forge that bond.  No, it’s a hypothetical space and a mental space.  Lately my head has been too full of scrolling to-do lists, a ticker tape of high priorities.  I had no time or energy to pursue creative ventures, not even vicariously.

But, when the din of my event died down and the silence crept back in I began to imagine my space.  I envisioned my desk as a clutter-free surface on which I could place my laptop and mouse as others do.  There I could turn on some tunes and begin tackling some pesky family projects.  And after making headway on those projects I imagined myself stamping and painting and writing at my art table, directly behind my desk.  While dreaming of these utopian moments I tried to imagine my space completed as in the pages of a magazine with attractive furniture, art, and pleasing places for the eyes to rest.  But in reality- my artsy crafty supplies push at their restrictive boundaries and the inept furniture struggles to perform tasks never intended.  And in all honesty, in my best months, I spend very little time in my zone.  It simply exists too far from my true home-office, the kitchen.

So, you see, it’s best that the space I’ve missed so much is not my chair and table, but rather the headroom to ponder color and light, shape and line, layers, and words and pattern.  It’s good to be back!

Here are all the mini masterpieces just waiting for their new home.
 To say I have done NOTHING in the arts realm rings slightly untrue when faced with the proof of these photos.  This is the art project I completed with the third graders at our elementary school.  Each block varies in height and forms the foundation for an original watercolor painting.  Then I mounted the blocks in a custom frame to create a multi-level work of art.  The project turned out beautifully!  I can't take credit for the idea, however.  I mined that gem from Olive and Love.  A great sight you must check out on your next coffee break!
 Have a glorious week!