Last night's woodland-themed first birthday party for Magpie was a success--simple, small and a little bit silly. The kids looked adorable in their elf hats and were great sports about wearing them for a photo (I want to get some parental permission before I post those pictures here).
I hung the "hip hip hooray" banner I'd made for Bo's birthday this summer.
The cake saga ended with a fun and easy solution. After our oven broke, I gave up trying to do anything too complicated. I ordered two round cakes from a grocery store bakery, asked them to frost them very simply with light pink, and then I fondanted them up the night before the party.
I'd never even eaten fondant before, let alone work with it (I understand it's all the rage at weddings today, but when most of my friends and I got married fondant was still something only to be enjoyed on the pages of Martha Stewart Weddings).
I followed the simplest recipe ever, found here, but it's not even as complicated as that write up makes it seem. Just put a cup of mini marshmallows plus 1 tablespoon of water in a bowl and microwave it for 20-30 seconds. Stir it up with a spoon. Add 1 1/2 to 2 cups powdered sugar. Stir until you have a gummy paste. Pull off a blob of it, add a bit of food coloring and work it in. It helps to grease your hands with a little bit of shortening, and feel free to add more powdered sugar if the fondant gets to moist. Then make whatever shape you want.
I'm sure there are fondant purists who would cringe at a recipe that calls for marshmallows, but from what I hear real fondant tastes terrible and what I made wasn't bad at all (it tastes like super sweet marshmallows, as you can imagine).
I can't take any credit for the look of the owl cake. I found these photos on Flickr of a cake made by a real baker and just did my best to come within a mile of the cuteness she achieved. Take a look at her other stuff while you're there. A.dor.a.ble.
I was just dinking around with the "B" cake. Doesn't exactly have a woodland theme. (FYI--Magpie's real first name starts with B.)
Anyhow, we have a hiatus on birthdays for a while (minus a couple of gifts that need to be made, including a Waldorf doll I might attempt for a little girl this weekend). You know what that means ... crafty Christmas is up next! Oh, boy.
I'm thinking of making it a 100 percent handmade Christmas this year. To me, that means that all the gifts we give will either be made by ourselves or purchased by a local artisan or on Etsy. Anyone else attempting this too (or am I the only crack head on the block?)? Wish me luck. I'm probably a few months behind already, so we'll see.