Sunday, October 13, 2013

Send in the Clowns

Elephant paints a picture at the pre-show
Friday we had tickets to see the circus (Ringling Bros).  We got them ages ago.  True to form, Friday morning I had an epic freak-out that my foot still hurt.  Yes, I was panicking because broken bones hadn't magically healed in two weeks.  I called Mom, called the doctor (who never responded), and then resorted to the ultimate medical diagnostic technique - polling my triathlon group on Facebook.  Some tears, responses, and some medicine later I settled back into the realization that it is going to take weeks for this to heal.  My main frustration is the MD didn't give me any timeline, so I am essentially feeling my way about when it is ok to stop using crutches, stop wearing the boot, etc.  Which on some days (like today) it doesn't hurt at all and I'm ready to go.  On other days, it feels awful.  Mood swings ensue.

Despite my tantrum and anxiety about leaving the house, come lunchtime we headed out to the Worcester DCU center.  We got there and hour and a half early for the pre-show, where you can go check out the animals in their enclosures and then go into the main arena to dance with the clowns, watch an elephant paint a picture, and bounce in a giant bouncy house if you are under 48 inches tall.

Memorizing pattern for later....
I got a truly impressive workout walking on my crutches (crutching?) around the DCU center.  Forget biking or swimming - just chasing two hyperactive kiddos around a stadium is a great workout for your arms, hands, and core.  I'm still sore!!

The show itself was amazing.  Magical.  My heart was in my throat for the aerialists, the acrobats, and especially the motorcycles in the steel ball.  Oh my goodness.  I wanted to call the mother of all those performers and say "Your child is not being safe!!"  At one point the girl child looked over at me and said, "Don't be afraid Mommy - it's not real."  This from the child who insists that her imaginary friends are real.  Might have to work on that...

Cotton candy
We spent more on cotton candy and popcorn than our tickets cost.  The vendor calling out $20 glowing swords and light up toys that spin nearly made my children explode with frustration when I repeatedly told them the Mommy had no more money.  Clearly the purpose of these people is to torture children and their parents.  But the show itself was a once in a lifetime experience.  Loved the big cats (we are currently trying to train our two housecats to do the same.  It's not going well).  Loved the trained puppies in dragon costumes, the Shaolin warriors, the acrobats that launched from a seesaw into towers five people high.  Dancers riding horses.  It was truly amazing.  We went out to dinner afterwards and it was all in all a really nice family day - something that was sorely (pun intended) needed.

And the elephants!!

The circus was timely for the following day's cake - a jungle themed baby shower cake.  I wanted to do Zebra print for one of the tiers, so I payed special attention to the tiger stripes at Ringlings.  I was still high with the circus buzz while decorating.  I am very grateful for my cake business / hobby - even when I'm broken I have something else that brings me so much joy.  A lot of the time the cake biz feels like work, but this cake was for a friend and was so much fun!  I decided to snap some pictures to make a tutorial while I worked.

Zebra Print Fondant Tutorial

  • Roll out white fondant per usual, to nearly the size you need for your cake.  We use homemade marshmallow fondant, but commercial is fine too.  We also use the Sweetwise Mat for all our fondant covered cakes - while not necessary, it is a fabulous tool and makes the whole process much easier.  (I am not affiliated with Sweetwise in any way - I just like their product).

  • Remove the top sheet of the mat, if using.  Roll small rolls of black fondant (make sure to taper the ends of each roll) radiating out from the center in a zebra striped pattern.

  • Once all your rolls are in place, put the top sheet back on and press firmly with your hands.
  • Roll out the stripes, always starting your pin in the middle and rolling outwards.  Do not roll in any other direction than out!
  • If using the mat, turn the fondant sheet over and remove the BOTTOM layer.  If rolling out without the mat, very carefully roll up your sheet and turn it over.

  • Drape the fondant, striped side up, over your cake.
  • Fit the fondant to the sides of your cake, smoothing, lifting, and stretching, per usual.  Be gentle - even if the black stripes are firmly rolled into the white, they may try to separate a little if pulled too much.
  • Once fitted and smooth, trim the bottom edge and continue with the cake!


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