I have mentioned it before: I bake custom cakes (artsy edibles as I like to call them) occasionally. For a bit of extra dosh. Keeps those lose ends nice and neat. I do other art as well (I sculpt with wire, I paint) but nothing sells quite like a cake. Or a cupcake. Or a cookie. For me.
I received a last minute order about a week ago. From a friend. She needed a cake topper for her niece’s first birthday party. My friend (I have mentioned her before in Making New Old Friends) was the go between. Passing on to me the request of her sister, mom of the birthday girl. I ask my customers to give me at least 4-6 weeks’ notice depending on the order. For something like a cake topper I like to have at least a week to 10 days. So the piece dries nicely. Because the party was somewhat last minute, so was the order. Minnie Mouse was the request. And they needed it in 4 days!
Let me just say this, I am completely self-taught. In all my art forms. I have never even taken a class out of personal interest. So all of my trials and tribulations baking cakes are where I get my education. Well, them and the good ole Internet. Should I encounter any troubles to the forums I head! I do not belong to any of them. I go exploring assuming that someone else has encountered the trouble before and found a solution. So far it is a method that has served me well. Though there have been a handful of moments where my own ingenuity has proven invaluable.
I managed to get the mouse made. It was difficult. And in the middle of our bathtub/shower being replaced (thankfully the wee one was with my folks for a few days). But it wasn’t staying together well. The fondant wouldn’t dry. She was a flimsy mouse. Oh boy! Or rather, oh girl! What was I going to do? I sent a message to my friend. She was not going to be able to pick it up that night…
I would rather remake it and deliver it the next day…was that possible? What? No don’t do that! I’m sure it is fine. I feel so bad, don’t make it all over again! What about your time? Don’t worry about it, I can’t give it to you. I would feel terrible! Oh please. I am sure it is fine. I feel so bad. Don’t feel bad, you didn’t screw with the chemical components of the fondant!
She chuckled. We bantered back and forth a bit more. Until I had to tell her I wouldn’t redo it if she said she felt bad one more time. Finally we agreed I would redo it and drop it off to her the next day. Personally, I thought the second Minnie turned out much better. Hubby said it was more appropriate for the age of the birthday girl. I had not realized I had originally created a mouse of an inappropriate nature…
Can you guess which Minnie came first?
In the end, everyone was satisfied. Phew!
*** *** ***
The Brothers Gruff: Part 3
The Rules of the Bridge
The troll never lived under the bridge. Or even near the bridge. But the troll used the bridge. To come and go. Occasionally. And so did the brothers.
The bridge belonged to no one. It was there to close a gap. To help whomever across the chasm. To aid or assist. To offer a place to rest. To pause and, perhaps, regroup before continuing on. The bridge was always there; something the brothers and the troll could count on.
The bridge had rules. Nothing terribly unreasonable. Perhaps hard to understand at times, but the rules were there with purpose. Not just to keep crossers safe but to make sure they learned something too. When using the bridge you must do so with caution and respect. Do not loiter or take what is not yours when crossing. Do not jump on the bridge. Those rules, and other, common sense based guidelines are always posted. At both ends of the bridge.
But one day, while the troll was crossing the bridge, things changed. The wind blew different. The bridge did not feel as stable as it once did. It did not feel safe. For anyone. Least of all the troll. So the troll found another way to travel. The troll found new means for crossing the chasm. But a day came and the troll needed to use the bridge. But it was close. Shut down. A fog had fallen around the bridge. And the troll was unable to see it, access it. The troll would not be crossing via the bridge.
And it appeared Brother One was in the same situation.
But Brother Two and Brother Three were fine. They still used the bridge.
Brother One didn’t frequent the bridge. He had other means. Ways to cross. For a long time, he had no need for the bridge. But his time came. He had to use the bridge. There simply was no other way.
It was with reluctance that Brother One made that first journey. He was not one for following the rules. And he especially did not like following those set bridge. But Brother One set out and made that initial crossing. And several more followed. Brother One faked following the rules.
However, as time went on, Brother One tired of faking it. His rule following days behind him, he started crossing the bridge willy-nilly. Without care. Until he was caught. And the bridge closed. For him. He had grown close to the troll. Often calling on the troll to help him, assist and guide him.
The night the bridge closed Brother One called the troll. And the troll was there to help. No questions asked.
The troll learned later to always ask questions. Even if the initial urge not to is unbearably strong.
Brother Two hung around the bridge. But only when no one else was there. He would never cross with the others. Only Brother Three. And only sometimes.
The bridge was not aware but Brother Two spoke on its behalf a lot. He changed the rules without informing anyone. Not even the bridge. He changed its design and purpose. Altered access to the bridge.
The troll would never said it aloud but often thought it was Brother Two who dispensed the fog and closed the bridge. Brother Two was sneaky like that. Self-serving and deceptive like that. Always looking out for himself. He had little regard for the rules of the bridge or the wants of the bridge. And had no
regard for those in need of the bridge.
And when Brother One and the troll stop using the bridge, Brother Two did everything in his power to keep it that way. A series of smoke and mirrors, rumours and new rules. Some of which were quite simply untrue. But only Brother Two knew those secrets.
The troll learned that things are not always what they seem. That those who dabble in deception are often themselves deceived.
Brother Three had the greatest need for the bridge. Youngest of the three brothers he needed it for guidance. It was the only thing that would allow him passage.
Too often Brother Three listened to Brother Two. Too much trust was put where it was not deserved. Unearned. But without making mistakes certain lessons are only that much more difficult to learn. Perhaps, that was the destiny of Brother Three.
The troll felt so far removed from Brother Three it was difficult to even know how to help. Not that help would ever be wanted. The troll had accepted Brother Three’s hatred, after much reasoning it seemed the best thing to do. That acceptance helped the troll to move beyond the situation.
The troll learned some things cannot be undone. And some things should not be undone.
Like most things, the bridge required maintenance. Regular visits and up-keep.
With the fog around no one was able to check on the bridge. The troll, who had always been proactive about such things, was unable to come by. Tidy up. Help the bridge stay looking, feeling and working its best. The brothers were not known for caretaking. Especially with such menial jobs (as they viewed them). But those things, those visits, those jobs brought great joy and pleasure to the troll. The troll never complained. Never thrust the do good attitude at the brothers. Never asked them to help. The troll was just happy to see everyone happy, enjoying life. The troll never minded taking the burden from any of them.
But that was not enough for the brothers. Nothing the troll did was enough for the brothers. And often times, not good enough for the bridge either. Still the troll carried on. Moving away yet always close enough should the need ever come. Until the troll decided there would be no more waiting for the fog to clear. No more waiting for the reappearance of the bridge.
The troll was going to make a move in the ever-evolving game. It was the troll’s turn to be selfish. To seek out the bridge. To clear the fog.
*** *** ***
This weekend that just passed was a busy one. Probably one of the busiest (if not the busiest) since our move.
I had a cake to deliver 80 kilometers away on Saturday, to very loyal customers. I had made them cakes before and it was a special request from their son, who was turning double-digits, to have a cake made by me. So, I sandwiched the delivery between my little one’s first soccer game (he did amazing, by the way, played goalie when no other kid wanted to!) and taking my mum-in-law out for dinner for her birthday (I figured we were sort of in the neighbourhood and it was her actual birthday so we had to try!). In a few short hours that afternoon/evening I managed to do well over 200 kilometers of driving.
The next day I had the honour of supplying treats for a baby shower. A lovely gal from high school will be welcoming a little boy soon and wanted to celebrate with some of my artsy edibles. How kind! I made the cutest little bowtie clad rubber duckies to sit atop a swirl of blue buttercream (garnish on some tasty Gluten-Free vanilla cupcakes) and decorated some sugar cookies to be given away to guests. They were a hit!
Following that delivery, I came home and worked on my gardens. Until it rained. Then it was inside for a bit of assessing. What happened over the last couple of weeks? What do we have coming up? Until I didn’t want to do that anymore. So, we all plopped down on the couch, rented a movie and snacked. Until I fell asleep. For just a few minutes.
Then I threw some dinner together.
And again, everyone was satisfied.