Tuesday Tunes

Tuesday Tunes

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Melting Pot, Thursday Things

Thursday Things

Been a busy week, with significantly more work hours than I had been getting for quite a while. Which will be nice come pay day, but my hands and wrists hurt, I ache all over and am just plain tired. I’m taking on more/different responsibilities at work beginning next week and I would be lying if I said I’m not super nervous over it. The boss clearly has faith in me I can handle it, otherwise she would be putting someone else who has been there longer in the shifts I will be taking over. But that’s part of what makes me nervous. When people expect me to do well, it puts the pressure on for me to not let them down. When people just expect you to screw up it’s far less pressure than when people expect you to do well!

A small sampling of my work week

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to bringing a new pet home, lately. It will be an investment, as any new pet is. Given my limited funds that means it’s going to be a while, yet. I have decided to go for it, though. I may start buying some of the items I’ll need for said pet – easier to buy items a couple things at a time than have to get it all at once. Less likely to forget something that way, too. I’ll be making a list of necessary supplies and pricing things this week. That’s all the details you’re getting for now. I like to keep you in suspense. 😜 Don’t expect an update on this front for at least several weeks.

My bathroom mirror tried to kill me this week. After seeing how previous tenants had mounted it, I’m surprised it didn’t attack me sooner. They put ONE D-ring hanger on it, not even at least centered. Eyeroll. I don’t like the mirror anyway so haven’t bothered to put it back up. I plan to buy a new mirror, in a size and style more to my liking. And it will be mounted properly.

I have cleaning to catch up on, so I’m off. I hope y’all are having a good week, and that you have an enjoyable weekend ahead.

Until next time. xoxo

Melting Pot, Whatever Wednesday

20 Random Questions

1. If you could be on DWTS (Dancing With The Stars), which of the pro dancers would you most want to be your partner and why?

Mark Ballas, because he is such a creative person and comes up with really fun dances. Also being a creative person (yet one totally lacking any grace or coordination aka dancing skills) I think it would be fun to work with him and let our creative natures work some magic together.

2. What would you do if you won the lottery?

First – how much are we talking about here? If it were for a large enough amount of money I would move the hell out of the hood! If we aren’t talking about that much money – pay bills and buy groceries, and get some work done on the house that needs taken care of.

3. If money were no object, would you rather design your own home or just find an existing home?

I would love to design my own home! I could only realistically manage it by working with an architect though cause I know squat about the proper design process and measurements aren’t my friend etc. But if I could work with someone who knew what they were doing and just show them pictures and explain to them what I want and then they make it happen? Hell yeah!

4. Have you ever been canoeing?

Yep, but just the once and it was… umm… about 22 years ago? Gee saying that makes me feel old… anyway it was at a camp which was a class field trip for a weekend. It was fun, I would do it again just never had an opportunity again since then.

5. If you could go back in time and change one thing that’s happened in your life, what would you change?

Oh let’s not open that can of worms. 😕

6. How many pillows do you sleep with?

Currently two, but I usually prefer to have three or four.

7. Have you ever been in a newspaper?

No, at least not that I can remember. Photos I took have been in the paper though, to accompany an article about a major local event.

8. You’ve just won a lifetime supply of the last thing you bought. What is it?

Chocolate milk. 🤣

9. What are three things always within reach beside your bed?

Lip balm, ear plugs, and my wireless charging pad for my phone.

10. What’s your ideal marriage proposal?

The proposal from the beginning of the movie Zookeeper was kinda sweet (minus the mariachi band…), but I don’t think this is a question with a solid answer. I would hope if a man were to propose to me, he would know me well enough to come up with a way to propose that would be special and meaningful to both of us as a couple.

11. Have you already planned your wedding?

Yes and no. I have ideas of how I’d like things to be, but lacking the essential groom, nothing’s set in stone about it. Other than the color scheme. I’m going to have to be stubborn and not negotiate on that bit. Lol

12. What’s your dream vacation?

A nice, secluded, private beach so I could enjoy the ocean minus crowds of people.

13. Are you wearing socks right now?

Nope.

14. How old were you when you had your first kiss?

I was 14. It was spontaneous and innocent and sweet. He was a good first boyfriend.

15. What bucket list item do you hope to accomplish within the next 5 years?

Get my dad to the beach. He did a ton of traveling in his younger years and has seen so many places, but he’s never seen the ocean.

16. What one thing annoys you most at a restaurant?

Being seated too closely to kids. If I’m there by myself or my group is all adults, chances are I/we kinda don’t want to be around kids. Kids are noisy and messy and nosy. I want to eat my meal in peace, thankyouverymuch. Remember restaurants used to have smoking and nonsmoking sections? They need to do that for kids. And have the sections set up like music recording studios so the noise from the kids section does not filter into the no kids section. That would be AMAZING.

17. If you could buy one object to complete your home, what would it be?

Ok we are going to pretend my house doesn’t need a ton of work for this one, and I will say a fence, not just for the back yard but the entire property. If we are talking strictly an indoors item instead, carpeting would be perfect.

18. Is it ok for guys to wear pink?

Absolutely! It’s perfectly acceptable for girls/women to wear blue, so why can’t guys wear pink? I’ve never understood why it’s frowned upon for guys to wear pink or that if they do there are assumptions made about their masculinity or sexuality. It’s a color for crying out loud – it means nothing!

19. Which are better: Legos or Lincoln Logs?

Lincoln Logs all the way!

20. Have you ever eaten pierogi?

Hello, I’m from Pittsburgh! Of COURSE! I can’t find them down here in NC and that makes me sad. I need to find my recipe and make some homemade instead. Especially since now thanks to this question I’m craving pierogi!

Until next time. xoxo

Cake Decorating, In The Kitchen

How to Practice Cake Decorating Without Cake

Often when we enjoy cake decorating, we feel like the only way to practice is to bake tons of cakes… but then there is the problem of having to eat those cakes or find people to give them to so you don’t personally have to consume all those calories.

You don’t have to actually bake cakes in order to practice your decorating!

There are cake practice boards available – basically easles with a plastic sheet that can be wiped clean, and they often also include printed practice sheets you place under the plastic so you can practice various piped designs by tracing the practice sheets. The problem with these is they aren’t shaped or sized like an actual cake – if you want to practice doing designs on the sides of a cake these boards aren’t going to help you get the experience of actually doing that. You’ll be able to nail the movements, and top borders/designs will be easier, but sometimes the translation from that to the actual bottom edge or sides of a cake requires further practice.

Or maybe you want to be able to practice base icing a cake as well as decorating. Then what?

There are cake dummies available from many places online. (Some arts and crafts stores offer a few options as well.) These are made of foam and, when properly cleaned and cared for, can last a great many years. Fun fact: did you know that many of the display cakes in bakery windows are just these cake dummies rather than real cake? Also, many brides and grooms choose to have the bulk of their wedding cake made with cake dummies, only having the layer they cut for photos made of real cake (and the top tier for saving for their first anniversary if they like that tradition) and the cake that is actually served to guests is then a basic sheet cake. This makes the wedding cake more affordable, while still being beautiful and completely customized to the couple’s desires.

Cake dummies can be pricey. But if you can’t afford them, or just don’t want to invest in them, you still have another option.

Simply flip a cake pan upside down!

If you’re into baking at all, you already have plenty of cake pans in various shapes and sizes to choose from. Just place some shelf liner on your turn table to help keep the pan in place, then ice and/or decorate as desired. When you’re done, or if you want to try something else, just scrape the icing from the pan and start over.

Do NOT use actual buttercream when you practice like this. I mean you could if you really wanted to, but it does have a fairly short shelf life. And you might not want to use it for actual cake after using it this way to practice, definitely not if you’ve practiced on a cake dummy. The solution here is using a mock buttercream.

Mock buttercream is simple to make. It’s merely vegetable shortening that you whip with powdered sugar till it is thick and fluffy, then if needed you add small amounts of water or corn syrup to reach the desired consistency. It has a very similar consistency to real buttercream, but has a far longer shelf life (stored in the fridge it basically lasts forever, but even at room temperature it’s going to last a long time. When’s the last time you had a tub of shortening go bad? It does happen sure but it takes a LONG time!) and it’s not something you’ll be tempted to eat. It can be used over and over again with no problems.

All you need to practice cake decorating is a turntable, an upside down cake pan, mock buttercream, an icing bag, decorating tips, a spatula and a bowl

I just keep my mock buttercream in a piping bag on the counter, out of direct sunlight, so it’s always ready to go when I want to practice. When I practice I get whatever tips I need for what I plan to do, a spatula to scrape the icing from the pan, and a bowl to put the scraped icing in till I’m ready to refill the piping bag. You can tint the mock buttercream if you want to, but I just leave it white to keep things simple.

I tend to just practice writing and flowers and such rather than base icing. I do a lot of base icing at work and can do that without problems. It’s the writing and decorating I feel like I need to practice, and I am always trying to come up with new simple designs I can use at work when I have the (rare) opportunity to decorate sheet cakes (rather than the prep work I usually do for the other decorators – usually the cakes I do decorate are ones that must be done by the book).

When you’re done or want to try again/something else, simply use a spatula to wipe the icing away from the pan
Just a couple quick flowers and balloons to demonstrate that you can easily practice multiple things in one go, this way
A new flower I’ve been practicing. I still don’t quite have it mastered, but it’s getting there
Random design I came up with while practicing recently

Did you ever think of practicing cake decorating this way?

I hope this post was helpful for those of you who like cake decorating. 😊

Until next time. xoxo

Melting Pot, Whatever Wednesday

Top Fives

The idea for this post has been rattling around in my brain for a while. It’s a simple post, but with everything else going on right now, it took a while for me to round it out with the specifics. I selected 10 categories, and for each category I’ll share my 5 top/favorite items or people, as the case may be.

Books

  • The Shape Of Mercy by Susan Meissner
  • Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs
  • Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
  • The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes by Jennifer Cruise, Eileen Dreyer, and Anne Stuart
  • The Cloak of Light by Chuck Black

Television Shows

  • Firefly
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show
  • Gilmore Girls
  • Friends
  • Galavant

Movies

  • Simply Irresistible
  • Serenity
  • Lost In Austen (this was originally a mini tv series in the UK, but was shown on Netflix in the US as a movie so I count it as a movie.)
  • Father of the Bride (1950 version, though the 1991 remake is good too)
  • Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken

Celebrity Crushes

All images found via online image search. Not necessarily current photos of the handsome fellows, but some of my favorites of them. Especially the one of John Krasinski. 😍
  • Pierce Brosnan
  • Christopher Rich
  • Richard Gere
  • Donal Logue
  • John Krasinski (yeah, the only one actually close to my age; I have issues.😂)

Cosmetics

  • LipSense lip colors
  • Just For Redheads mascaras
  • Girlactik Beauty Star Eyeshadow in the shade Frenchie (discontinued)
  • ULTA Cheek Color in the shade Girlie (discontinued)
  • L’Oreal Infallible 24 Hour Eyeshadow in the shade Iced Latte

Skincare Products

  • Simple Skincare Cleansing Oil
  • Kate Somerville Eradikate Acne Spot Treatment
  • Kate Somerville Exfolikate Treatment
  • Ponds Cold Cream Cleanser
  • O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Cream

Small Kitchen Appliances & Gadgets

  • KitchenAid Professional 600 Series Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer
  • Chef’s Choice 839 electric Krumkake iron
  • Martha Stewart Garlic Zoom garlic chopper/mincer
  • Tomodachi ceramic knives
  • Sugarloaf Pottery French Butter Saver

Fragrances

  • Love Spell Lace (Victoria’s Secret)
  • Curve Crush (Liz Claiborne)
  • Daydream (Avon)
  • Fiori (Vince Camuto)
  • Love & Luck (Ed Hardy)

Musicians

  • Rascal Flatts
  • Gin Blossoms
  • Alexander Jean
  • Dolly Parton
  • Brian McComas

Desserts/Snacks

  • Cheesecake
  • Chocolate covered strawberries
  • Pretzels
  • Kit Kats
  • Cake

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, it’s a little something different from my standard fare. Feel free to post your own top fives, in the comments or on your own blog, I’d love to read them! I have a couple other “favorites/top #” type post ideas working in my head for down the road. As always, thanks for stopping by.

Until next time. xoxo

Whatever Wednesday

Real Talk

I am a quiet person. I like routine and “same old same old every day”. I like planning and knowing what to expect of my days. I like to focus on the task at hand. I am a perfectionist who almost never feels satisfied with a job I have done – I see what I did wrong or what could have been done differently or better.

I don’t like loud noise. I don’t like distractions or interruptions. While spontaneity certainly has its place and it’s perfectly acceptable in certain situations, I generally don’t care for it.

I am a homebody. Some small bit of wanderlust lives in my heart, but it’s nothing compared to those who thrive on travel and adventure. I’m perfectly happy to stay home cleaning, cooking, reading, crafting etc.

I find the most pleasure in simple things. A kitchen well stocked with food. The smell of rain. The warmth of sunshine on my skin. Snuggles with my dogs. Cuddles, kisses, and holding hands with that special someone (when there is a special someone in my life). Flowers. A warm bubble bath. Slipping into a bed made with freshly laundered linens. The smell of old books. The smell of new books. Soft, cozy pajamas. Scrunchies. Sweaters. Candles. Wide open country fields blanketed by blue skies.

I am 100% an introvert. I don’t like big crowds of people. I need alone time to recharge.

Life has left me cynical and jaded. I am broken inside. I don’t trust easily. There is currently literally one person in my life that I trust implicitly; a very small number I mostly trust. The rest, I don’t let get close. I trusted someone else once upon a time. He’s the reason I’m broken. He’s the reminder of why I keep people at arm’s length and have walls around my (now shattered) heart.

I was bullied all through school and had people do and say very hurtful things to and about me; things I went through from age 13 on left me with no self esteem. The cruelest things said about me have come from my own lips. I don’t believe it when people say nice things about me. I don’t believe that I am even the tiniest drop of pretty, so on the very rare occasions I hear someone use “beautiful” to describe me I think they are either lying or crazy or both.

I like to sing but I’m no good at it so I only sing when I’m all alone.

Until next time. xoxo