Yarn ball cake

I’ve been planning my mum’s birthday cake for months (and finally discovered the secret board feature on Pinterest), and gave her cat themed presents as well. This is the inspiration…

yarn cakeย And this is how I recreated it:

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I start with chocolate cake baked in two half soccer ball cake tins. Word of advice – leave yourself twice as much time as the recipe says. It just takes ages because they’re so deep. Cool completely, shave off the non-round tops to allow a smooth join, and the base of one (so that it doesn’t roll around – also, if your cat tries to eat some of it, cut that off too).

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I used a basic buttercream icing with vanilla, and coloured it a shade of the fondant I was using. Stick the two hemispheres together with icing and fill in the gaps. I balanced the whole ball in my hand, holding the top half while I iced the bottom half, then put it down on the plate to do the top. I wasn’t too fussy about making it really smooth. The cake design is quite forgiving.

P1000624I used a knife to mark the design out and started with the sections that would be underneath. I also wear gloves (latex free) when handling fondant; it makes it especially easy when doing so much rolling.

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And finally I made the cat, and a few more strands of wool. I generally save the topper for last these days. I never quite anticipate correctly just how much the cake grows when you add icing and fondant.

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Cat whisperer

We have a new addition to the family. Meet Freckles:

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She’s not having a very good day – my dad kidnapped her from nan’s unit (nan is now in a nursing home) and brought her home. I’m not sure how long my family were trying to get her out of her hiding place, but it took me about 5 minutes of scratching and sing-songing for her to feel like emerging…

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…into another hidy hole.

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But at least she’s out.
Meanwhile, Henry, who owns my family, has been exiled outside.

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He is unimpressed, as he is quite used to coming and going as he pleases since he was promoted to indoor-outdoor-cat status.

I’m a bit sad that I won’t be there for the moment when they both meet.

Pre-marriage reflections

In less than three months I will be making some pretty big promises to one man and making the biggest life change so far (actually, two – moving out for the first time). I imagine I’ll be pretty emotional for, say, the next year, and as it gets closer, I notice even more the things that are going to change.

Things I will miss:

  • natural light – my bedroom at the moment gets the best morning sun and the backyard gets some quite nice afternoon sun, where I occasionally enjoy reading. Our unit doesn’t get much sun at all, so I hope the balcony temperature is pleasant enough to sit outside a lot.
  • my cat – I’m not a crazy cat lady, but my cat is super cute and, funnily enough, brings my family together (we don’t really hang out much, despite living together, but when the cat is around, so are all the women)
  • everything my mum does – it’s a bit selfish, but realistically, I will miss that my mum cleans the house, cooks and washes my clothes.
  • secrets – I’m sure there are weird habits and idiosyncrasies that Jeh doesn’t know about, and would probably rather he didn’t. Also, living together will make it a bit trickier to surprise him.

Things I’m looking forward to:

  • going to sleep and waking up with my husband – we’ll be living together for the first time after the wedding; I’m looking forward to not having to say goodbye.
  • working out what life looks like with just one other person.
  • cooking dinner for my husband – cooking is still a novelty for me, I quite enjoy it, and I do quite enjoy being domestic
  • clutter-free kitchen – we have too much stuff at home, and we often run out of space on every available surface, so I am excited about having everything in cupboards.
  • quiet – I have a big family, but it’s not so much that we talk a lot that there’s always noise – it’s my dad and the TV. Morning and evening, it’s either that, or dad out in the backyard blasting Dire Straits or Shania Twain – sometimes I’m a little sensitive to sound.
  • baking in our awesome kitchen – even though Jeh doesn’t really eat sweets, my dad does, so I have worked out that I can still bake regularly, keep a couple for myself and guests, and give the rest to my dad. Win win!
  • talking more to my family – even though I’ll see them less, I suppose there will be more to talk about and catch up on. It’s sad that we’ve never really been that close knit, but I think as we live further apart, we’ll actually be closer.
  • the Ally-sized bath at the unit, with jets!! Bubbles, a good book and a soak (we have a bath at home, but it’s slightly too long for me, I have to point my toe against the end so my hair doesn’t get wet).

Any advice or other things I can be excited about moving out and/or getting married?

Procrastination

My procrastination techniques go through phases. Sometimes it’s getting really involved in a task, like making a whole scrapbook, rearranging and cleaning my entire bedroom (or bathroom, now that we have one) or reading an entire book.

Other times it’s half-hearted procrastination, where I have the self-control enough to not lock myself into a task that needs to be finished, but I struggle to get started on what I need to do. Usually at times like these I go on facebook or blog.

So instead of doing the mountain of prep I’m meant to be doing, I would rather:

find a sunny spot and laze about

have coffee and baked goods with friends (like Jenny and Jo!)

make my own baked goods using our brand new kitchen appliances!

I am looking forward to spending next week delving into the bible with students (what I’m meant to be prepping), but I also think I am ready for a holiday.

What Mum wants

My family isn’t good at showing affection to each other, and when it comes to getting gifts for my parents, I get stumped. What do you get the woman who buys everything she wants and spends hours on ebay buying more things she doesn’t need (if anyone needs any wool, come to my house)?

So on Mother’s Day, we had pancakes and bacon.

But you know what really makes my mum happy? It seems, not having her children around her (I was the only one there, the others were either at church, work or sleeping), but kittens.

Yes, Henry is my mum’s favourite little person. He has made his way inside the house (like no other cat before him has ever achieved).

I can’t blame her. Here are some other photos of Henry’s adventures (because there aren’t enough photos of cats on the internet):

It’s funny how a cat brings a family together. It’s a nice excuse to hang out with Erin more often.

Henry making himself at home on my bed.

Eyeing off my phone charger cord.

Attacking the blinds.

Preparing to attack a magpie…

… after his success with a mouse. Sorry, that’s a bit gross.

Relaxing

I wonder if I’m starting to idolise days off, because I love them so much. Even though we’ve all had a short week (because of Easter), it’s still felt like a tiring and not very productive week.

I worked both Saturday and Sunday last week and got some things done, but never as much as I planned or hoped to. I was blessed to spend time with family and friends on the public holidays, and have Tuesday to do errands (though again, I feel like I got no work done). Wednesday was a full day MYC planning meeting, which left me exhausted, from talking to people and working through a lot of material. Thursday and Friday at the disability centre (while clients were on “school” holidays) were long and slow and again made me wonder how long I’d be in the industry.

But days off… I never get over them. I’m one of those people who, when the school holidays were drawing to a close and most students were bored and itching for some structure, I could always keep myself entertained. I’m very much looking forward to eternal rest (though I understand I probably won’t be doing much craft or watching Castle).

This is my day so far:

egg and soldiers, inspired by Sarah ๐Ÿ™‚

on a gorgeous day, where trackies are not going to cut it…

but distracting Henry with his own food only lasts so long. He eats so fast you can hear him burp.

He seems to like licking sharp things (he’d already tried licking the inside of the can of food).

Time for some sewing and dodgy button holes.

And some quilling birthday cards.

I know that some can’t stand this kind of fiddly work, but for an insight into my brain, family and personality, I find it utterly relaxing and could sit on my floor and make things for days on end. Perhaps some of you will reap the fruits of my hobbies ๐Ÿ™‚

Holiday quiet times

I’m going back to work in two days, so the slow mornings are coming to an end and breakfast in the car will become the norm, but here is how my quiet times have looked lately…

Usually there would also be a cup of tea, but the kitten always tries to drink it… Thursday we find out if it’s a boy or girl and then it will get a cooler name than “cat” (though the Breakfast at Tiffany’s reference is pretty cool).