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Diego and Dora Cake

When Henri turned 3 he was all about Diego & Dora.  Okay actually he was all about Dora.  (I think he had a crush).  For the longest time you couldn’t get through a day in my house without being encouraged to ¡vamanos! or go ¡al rescate! or yell at Swiper to stop swiping- and the Map!  Oy.  Don’t get me started on the Map!

Anyhoo… there was nothing he wanted for his cake except something ‘Dora’-themed.

diego dora cake titled

So that’s what he got.  (Complete with really crappy old cell phone pics… weeeee!)

Looking at the pics now, 4 years later… I’ll admit I was really disappointed with some parts of this cake.  My own fault- I’d made the figures earlier in the week along with the basket for a hot air balloon, intending to write Henri’s name on a banner hanging from it, and set that aside to dry with the figures.  Only later on did I bake the cake, and begin decorating while the figures were still set aside.

My plan was to make the cake look like a hill with a little waterfall running down… all so I could use my bright idea of Goldfish crackers as goldfish.  I figured I’d stand the characters naturally around, like they were enjoying a day in the rainforest after landing from a fun ride.

The cake was iced with grass and water areas, and I put the chocolate rocks around the base and crushed up graham crackers as sand.  Finally, the night before the party, I got the figures and basket up from the basement where they’d been drying near the dehumidifier… and instantly realized they were too big.  Like, WAY too big.

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In fact the only place on the cake that had room to set down the hot air balloon basket was directly on the top of the waterfall.   diego dora cake 03

Even Dora and Diego would know that’s a muy not safe landing spot.  😦

But, it was too late to do anything about it.  Now I know the importance of scale and measuring my work, and haven’t had an incident like this again.diego dora cake character collage

Closeups of Diego & Boots, Dora (wearing Backpack), and Baby Jaguar, along with the Goldfish in the water.  For the water I’d put down white icing first and let it set a bit, then overlaid it with blue icing and deliberately chopped them together in places, breaking the crust on the white icing, much like I did for the hot tub water in the Betty Boop cake.  If I were redoing the cake I’d also take more time to make the characters look more screen-accurate, specifically in their faces, and most specifically for Dora’s face.  I remember having the hardest time mixing the correct colors and had no tools beyond toothpicks at the time, so the figure modelling isn’t my best work, though the kids didn’t seem to mind much.diego dora cake 01

To make the hot air balloon I used a regular balloon attached to one of those rigid sticks with a balloon holder on top, like you get at carnivals and fairs.  I always save stuff like that in case it comes in handy, and for this it did, as I’d had no idea how I’d rig up a balloon before I thought of it.  I hung a loop of yarn around the balloon, tacked down in spots with dabs of clear nailpolish, and into the ‘basket’ part I pressed 4 paperclips, leaving only a loop off each end sticking out.  I tied the dangling yarn to the paperclip loops and voila- a hot air balloon.

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And when it came down to it?  All the kids cared about was that they could eat it.  And it was good.  🙂

Henri’s other birthday cakes so far


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covered in icing

My day  ended covered in icing.  Always, when I make the birthday cakes, since the parties are usually on Sundays, I bake on Thurs, dirty-ice on Fri and decorate on Sat.  So today was decoration day.  I knew better than to risk starting to make my buttercream while the boys were up, but I wasn’t worried about getting a late start because of how much I got done being home yesterday.

In the afternoon my neighbor brought her 7-month-old daughter over for us to babysit, and my boys had a BLAST playing with her.  She was seated in her Bumbo like a princess on a throne, and the boys didn’t stop parading in front of her trying to make her laugh.  First Jakob would do somersaults across the room, then Henri broke in with a guitar solo, and Jakob wouldn’t be outdone, so he grabbed some maracas and got in on the performance.  It was a riot.

Luckily she practically put herself to sleep just before the boys went down, and I was able to get to work on the cake.  But I forgot to take pics with my cell, and my camera isn’t with me at the moment, so instead of cake pics, here’s an update on the holiday gifts for the boys’ daycare teachers.

This is what each teacher (5 in total) got.  A red platter, topped with a back scrubber, a crocheted chain-8 dishcloth, a crocheted soap-saver bag with a scented bar of soap inside, and a crocheted bath puff, all wrapped up in cellophane and tied with a ribbon of red yarn.

The chain-8 and bath puff are the standard patterns I’ve been using for years, and are linked from the projects on my Rav pages.  The soap saver I just made up on the spot, and is basically just a sc1-ch1 pattern around, with a drawstring near the top.  All was done with 2 shades of holiday Bernat Handicrafter cotton, plain white Handicrafter, and a 4mm crochet hook.

I’ve made these as teacher gifts before, but both my boys are with new teachers now so none of these 5 have received this gift before, so I didn’t mind recycling the idea.  The daycare owner, however, has already received this gift, so I needed to come up with something new.  She also happens to be pregnant, and due with a little boy any day now.  So she got this:

It’s 2 shades of Bernat Baby Coordinates from my stash, worked in a simple granny square, using a 4mm crochet hook.  I would have liked to have gone bigger, but it was late, she was leaving on mat leave the next day, and my hand was starting to cramp into a claw.


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another knitless day

What weather we had today!  Freezing rain and snow…luckily after bringing Henri to his 3 year checkup I was able to get him to school and then come home, and not need to drive into town for work.  That was a relief!  (Plus my belly’s been sore and it gets worse after driving from the push/pull of my leg on the pedals, so any chance to not have to drive was welcome).

Henri’s appointment went great, and he’s still 90th percentile for height and weight, meaning he hasn’t slowed down his growth since…birth?  3 months old?  I don’t remember, but he’s been almost off the charts since the beginning.  I assume he’ll slow down and meet up with the average standards at some point, but it’s not happening yet!  He’s only about 1/2 a pound and 1/2 an inch apart from Jakob, and everyone usually assumes they’re twins, especially since they beg to dress alike.

I spent the day working on fondant decorations for his cake for Sunday, so they’d have a chance to dry out a bit and be more stable by the party.  I also made a batch of buttercream icing (so easy and tastes so much better than store-bought!!) and dirty-iced the cake to catch any crumbs before the final decorating tomorrow.  Unfortunately I accidentally made the fondant pieces too big for my original plan, but it’s too late to change the cake so I’ll have to come up with a way to make it work.

No pics today ‘cus I have no knitting or weaving progress, I didn’t take any new photos of the kids today, and I’m keeping the cake a surprise until after the party.  I’d show you my nails but I’m redoing those tomorrow too.

Hope you had a great Friday the 13th!  Ooh- remember the movie Freaky Friday?  I just got a flashback of the original one, with Jodie Foster.  I must have seen it in the 80’s sometime.  I don’t know why it’s reminding me of this, but does anyone but me remember the TV show…what was it called….Rags to Riches?  About a guy who adopts like 7 girls, and they’re always singing, like when the blonde one likes a guy she’s mooning at him through a chain-link fence at a park and singing “I Will Follow Him”?  I used to love that show!