My family (or at least the extended part of my mother's side) gets together about once a month to celebrate birthdays and catch up on everything from political gossip to our actual lives. This month happens to be the month of both my mom and grandma's birthdays, so on Saturday we celebrated that by getting together at my house. Which meant several things. It meant I could see my grandparents and aunts and other assorted family-friends-almost-relatives. It also meant that our house needed to be prepared for everyone to visit. This is where the girl who has nothing better to do (aka me) comes in.
Though cleaning and shopping for food are quite boring, I did create two wonderful things. The first: this bouquet of flowers:
This started with a couple sunflowers from the store, but turned into oh so much more. I added more sunflowers from the garden (which I planted back in June and was quite excited to see still in bloom when I returned from break), as well as geraniums (I think?), a branch of Japanese maple leaves (which were becoming, but still had a hint of green left in them), some hydrangea leaves (which were closer to an orangy red with a green undertone), and several pieces of red barberry bush (I think?) around the outside. I'm quite proud of this floral arrangement, especially since it is mostly composed of flowers I cared for.
The other thing I'm quite proud of is the cake. I used a Betty Crocker brand French Vanilla cake mix and Pillsbury Whipped Vanilla frosting, but I'm mostly proud of the design. I learned over the summer how to do lattice work on a cake as well as cool borders (though I couldn't do a very cool border because the tube I was using to pipe the frosting was not cooperating). This simply takes the proper tools and a steady hand, which I've been working on. I also learned a couple weeks ago how to decorate the sides of a cake (which has been bothering me for years because it looks so cool but I never could figure out how to do it properly). Apparently, all you do is wash your hands very well and dry them completely; then take about 2/3 of a handful of sprinkles, chopped nuts, or whatever and gently pat it against the sides of the cake. It's important to have some waxed paper beneath the cake to catch whatever falls off the cake. Using a cake pedestal helps as well. I found quite a few videos on youtube on how to do this actually rather simple technique. After the wonderful candles supplied by my aunt, this is what the cake looked like:
When I was finished with both of these (and in a clean-ish house), I felt Martha Stuart-esque, which is quite an awesome feeling. She and Bree Hodge are my power women with all her clever creations (though I do not condone either one's poor personal judgement...hem hem...prison...hem hem...alcoholism...hem hem).