Blue Blue Blue

Most people are aware that blue is my favourite colour. I like blue jewellery (I have sapphires on my engagement and wedding rings and my eternity stone is a blue tanzanite!), blue clothes, blue car, blue stationery, blue bedroom and even blue gutters on the house!

We had my folks and the in-laws over for dinner last night and I wanted to make another cake for my collection but I didn’t know what to make! I went through all the cake books I have (whilst watching Cupcake Wars) to get some inspiration. A book I got from my hubbie’s cousin, The Whimsical Bakehouse, has a lot of decorations using melted white chocolate and I thought that I would give it a go! They also have many cakes with fillings so I thought I would also try that. I was reading through the filling recipes and one mentioned whipped cream and adding fruit… an idea started to form!

I follow a couple of cake pages on Facebook and Coxies Cakes http://www.facebook.com/Coxies.cakes is fantastic (check out her Alice in Wonderland cake!). She has made a few rainbow cakes, so I was really interested in baking with colours! So I googled (I love Google!!) rainbow cakes and the first search result was a Martha Stewart recipe http://www.marthastewart.com/256688/rainbow-cake. The colours of the cake are made with food colouring, how easy is that! I had to give it a go! (Picture below is from the Martha Stewart site.)

Since my favourite colour is blue, a picture started to form! I would make a blue butter cake and use whipped cream and blueberries as a filling. I went with electric blue for the base and both fresh and canned blueberries. I thought the canned berries would take some of the tartness away from the fresh berries. The next layer I made sky blue.

You might be able to see a bit of brown under the second layer; the cake was a light brown all over when it came out of the oven. As you can see from Martha Stewart’s cake above, they had to cut it to see the rainbow colours. When I was presenting my cake, I wanted it to be blue all over! I wanted to shock the folks! So I cut the edges off the cake :)

To top the cake I tried to add some blue colouring to whipped cream. That didn’t work. Not sure if the food colouring made it too watery, or if I whipped it too much, or if the food colouring reacted with the cream. So I went with my fail-safe butter icing. I coloured it royal blue. I am so glad I did top it with butter icing because it was DELICIOUS!

Then I started playing with white melting chocolate. I am a beginner at piping, so that was interesting. Thank god for disposable Wilton piping bags! Well as you can see I had fun! And the cake got a great reaction from the folks… I think Dad was afraid to eat it because it was so blue! But how can you go wrong with Blue Butter Cake filled with Whipped Cream and Blueberries, topped with Blue Butter Icing with melted white chocolate!!!  YUM! Guess who gets the left overs?! 😛

 

 

Lost In Time

I have no idea where the first month of my sabbatical has gone! I have been doing many things such as Cake Decorating (see separate post tomorrow); Card Making; going out for lunches; dabbling in cooking and gardening; and of course working out the best way to set up my blog/website (including edits photos!).

One thing ‘constructive’ I have been doing is playing with LEGO! (Any guesses what the below 6+ bags of LEGO is?)

I have always loved fantasy and Sci-Fi / Fantasy. I guess it started at an early age – with Sesame Street and The Muppets. Don’t laugh, they are very much fantasy with all sorts of different creatures/puppets who can talk! This love for puppets expanded when Fraggle Rock graced our screens. My sisters and I would always make sure we were back inside (from playing outside on our hobby farm) to ensure we heard the beginning of the Fraggle Rock song. We would put the TV up loud, run to the end of the corridor near the toilet and as soon as the song started “Dance your cares away; Worries for another day… Down at Fraggle Rock” we would sprint to the TV room, just as Gobo would run through the tunnels to meet his friends.

Much to my delight, that when I was older I realised that some of my favourite movies growing up, The Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal, were directed by Jim Hensen.

Of course this is just the infancy of my Sci-Fi adoration. Do you remember Monkey -“born from an egg on a mountain top” and Lost in Space – “Warning! Warning! Alien approaching!”? They definitely expanded our imaginations of other cultures/religons and what could be out there (in space)!!

The other favourites growing up were Dr Who and Star Trek. Originally we were forced to watch Dr Who. It used to be on at 6:30pm on ABC and Dad would get home just after 6pm so he could watch it. Of course we wanted to see our Dad, so we watched it too. I think it scared us a little to begin with, but as the years went on, Dad didn’t always make it home in time (or it was showed earlier), yet we seemed to keep watching it!! (Could be considered brain washing, since I think Mum brained washed us with the Rolling Stones!)

Then comes Star Wars. I was in love! In love with the whole idea, in love with Han Solo and in love with Luke Skywalker. I wanted to be Princess Leia and I didn’t care if it meant I was Luke Skywalker’s sister!! So this is where LEGO comes in.

I was at my sisters the first week of my sabbatical and my nephew was playing with her Indiana Jones and the Lost Tomb LEGO. I thought AWESOME. So I went to Toys R Us to buy my niece and nephew their birthday pressies, and convenitently added some LEGO for me to the pile!

My first project, after opening the box with the 6+ bags as shown above, was a small Ewok™ Attack.

     

I have to end my post here. As with the past month I have found myself Lost in Time (not Lost in Space this time :) ).

Welcome to the Labyrinth!

Welcome to the labyrinth of my mind, my life, my journey. My name is Michelle if you haven’t guessed already! I live in Perth, Western Australia and believe Perth is the best place to live on Earth – and I have visited fair few places. I am a “boring” accountant who is married to a mortgage broker (numbers are our thing!). However I am currently on a well earned sabbatical. After 9.5 years at my newly ex-employer; 5 years with the one prior to that; and being a hardworking, caring, perfectionistic workaholic – I needed a break.

I have been asked what is a sabbatical and why I am taking a sabbatical. A sabbatical is an extended leave from normal work, ranging from 2 months to a whole year. On a sabbatical one relaxes/recharges; acquires new or improves skills and/or travels. I have known people who have taken sabbaticals between high school and university, or while they were still studying at university (especially if the courses were more than 3 years long or if they did Honors etc). I had 3 months off between Uni and starting work, and things have been go-go-go since then. As I said I have been a been a bit of a workaholic and a lot of things have been put on the back-burner or neglected. So it was time I took a break, especially to recharge and think of where I want to go from here. Plus I want to loose some weight; spend more time with family and friends; and have more time to decorate cakes! And I may even splash some travel into the mix as well!

I am into my 23rd day of my sabbatical. It still does not seem to have sunk in. I am free! My life is no longer based around month ends! I have had a few lazy days, but lots of busy days. My husband (“hubbie”) agreed I could have 6 months off work on two provisos: 1. I do not sleep the whole 6 months; and 2. I do something everyday – it doesn’t matter what that something is as long as it is not just sleeping or watching TV!

Why a blog? The movie Julie and Julia really struck a chord with me and I thought “why didn’t I think of that?”. I saw it while on an aeroplane with hubbie sleeping beside me. I remember laughing (so much I shook the chair because I was trying to stifle it!) and crying and just loving the idea of being able to record and express oneself while on a journey. So I thought I would chronicle my sabbatical on a blog, and it will also be a good way to record all the things I have done (besides sleeping and watching my beloved TV!) as proof for my patient husband. Keep me honest!

Choosing a name for my blog caused much angst within myself. I wanted something striking, meaningful, short and magical. I even coerced hubbie to help while we drove home from Bunbury one night. We almost decided on “Michelle’s Moonrise”, where moonrise was a metaphor for stage of life. The sun has set and the moon is rising for a fresh start. A stage in life where much has been accomplished already and it is time to decide what’s next! It almost sounds like a mid-life crisis! But I didn’t think moonrise, in the way it was intended, was self explanatory. The movie Labyrinth is a favourite of mine. I love Jim Henson, Brian Froud and David Bowie! So what a perfect combination! And a labyrinth is also an intricate combination of passages in which it is difficult to find one’s way or to reach the end goal – which is exactly how my mind feels at the moment! So “Michelle’s Labyrinth” it was!

Sometimes I wonder if I was the girl that never grew up! As I have mentioned I love cake decorating – mainly novelty cakes, but I am dabbling in flower making etc. And as I have also mentioned I love TV. I love movies, TV shows, especially crime, drama and sci-fi. I detest reality shows (unless cooking is involved!). My sci-fi love extends to accumulating collectibles/movie memorabilia and lots and lots of books and DVDs! So taking all that into consideration and what I want to blog about I have set 5 different categories for my posts: 1. Random Posts 2. Cake Decorating 3. The Dukan Diet Plan 4. Travels and 5. I’m a Geek – just to express that side of myself.

As Simon Pegg has been quoted “Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection. It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something. It’s basically a license to proudly emote on a somewhat childish level rather than behave like a supposed adult. Being a geek is extremely liberating.”

I love that quote very much. I love keeping the child within me alive. Sometimes I wonder if I should have been called Peta Pan, as you will no doubt see :)

So welcome to my labyrinth and don’t get lost in the obelisk oubliette or beheaded by goblins!

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