new faces

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Every time I see my nieces and nephew my heart fills with love. The pure sight of them magically makes my face light up and turn a rainy day into pure sunshine. They fill my life with joy and appreciation.

Sometimes I am wondering, how those little human beings can steal such a huge part of my heart and love. How these little people made it to crawl their way into the circle of loved ones so easily.

 

Along with these thoughts, I am thinking about people we meet in our lives and how they affect us. There are people we know from day 1 – parents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents… Then there are people we meet along the way, starting with family friends, visiting our home, until we grow our own circle of relationships. The group of people then starts to change in batches. Kindergarten, school, university, work.. The number of people in ones life gets bigger and bigger with passing years. Some of those people stay. Most leave. Some will be remembered, some will leave a vague memory of a face or a name. Some of them will even represent a question mark on old photographs. People will be good to us, hurt us, leave us behind. Some will have a presence, even if they are not around. Some will remain a sad memory, some will always make us smile. Some of them will never be friends, some of them will be like family. And family might even not feel like family any longer.

 

Two months ago we celebrated my nephews first birthday and I was sitting at the table, looking at the 20+ guests, wondering about the circle of people in my nephew’s life. Most of the people were his parent’s friends. I was thinking how this will change over time. In just a few years, it will be a party full of children his ageΒ and their parents, until he will invite only his friends to his own apartment. He will have a full list of people he met along his way, carefully choosing the ones he can trust and can be himself with. He will find the one person he will be ready to spend the rest of his life with, creating his own stable circle of people, called family. And all will start again.

For now though, all he was interested in were the toys and his stuffed animals.. the people celebrating him were of less interest. Sure I had to be present and make a cake for him. His love for animals made the theme pretty easy to choose. I spent a few days making the lion (he will sure grow up with the strength of a lion) and had 1 1/2 days for the rest of the decoration and cake making. My sister and I spent the evening before the event, making a fondant zoo. The lion did not quite survive the transport – lost some hair along the way, but hey.. that’s life πŸ˜‰

We placed the zoo on the cake, made some additional colorful decorations – like an arena for the lion – and decorated everything just in time before the guests arrived. My nephew recognized all the animals (at least the ones that make a sound like snake and elephant πŸ˜‰ ) and seemed very happy seeing all his favorite characters.

And so he is starting his own journey through the many faces in his life. Thinking back I am thankful for all of those I met along my own. Not all of them have brought me joy, not all of them made me happy. Some hurt me badly, some left me broken, but luckily most of them left me with a smile and good memories. One thing I know for sure: no matter who I met and whether this person is still in my contacts or not, whether this person broke me or lifted me up, I learned, I got better, I got stronger. With every new face in my life I became who I am today, where I am today. Even those, who hurt me and did wrong to me, taught me the probably most valuable lesson; something somebody told me a long time ago: those people taught me who I don’t want to be. They made me stronger and a better person. So: Thank you!

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busy bees = beesy

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Birthdays are.. a big deal for some people. No big deal for others. Just another day for many. A day that tells you to start living your life for those who are unhappy. A day to celebrate your life for optimists. An occasion to invite and see friends for social people. An opportunity to bake for those like me. A special day you can look forward, cause everyone will make this day special, for kids. A day you can blow out your candles a million times and forget the guests, who want to eat the cake, for the even smaller ones.. like my little niece. She turned 2 this week and of course I really wanted to make a cake for her. After the castle cake for her sister a few months ago, I had a hard time thinking about making something equally exciting. My sister in law gave me the tip that she likes Maya the Bee.. as it happened my present was a Maya the Bee Bowling Set (adorable!!!!!), so that was a great fit πŸ™‚

I went on an inspiration hunt right away. The thing with me and my ideas is that I change my ideas a million times to the very last moment. Sometimes it is good, cause not everything turns out the way we plan it at the beginning, but sometimes it is really hard, if you need to buy all the stuff and cannot stick to one plan. Anyway.. I didn’t really find what I was looking for on the internet, so I just made a mental picture of my idea and kind of stayed with it until….the day I started modeling the figurines with gum paste. I decided that instead of just putting them on top of the third and second layer of the cake, I wanted them to “do” something. So, Maya got the responsibility to present the number two. Willy – the other bee- is taking care of my niece’s name and Flip.. well… he was a little too unstable to have a task (I think he is just the coordinator in this scene). He would simply look cute and complete the Maya the Bee crew. The three characters were a lot of work. I think it took me 11 hours until all of them were more or less sitting, standing and not falling apart. I printed some pictures from the internet in order to be as close to the original as possible. The next day I made the cakes (one with a buttermilk-lemon-rasberry filling, one with an egg liqueur filling and one with a chocolate buttercream-pudding filling – of course, the kids did not have the second filling. They are not big fans of cream cakes anyway). For the decoration I took out all the fondant cutters I had.. different kinds of flowers, leaves and butterflies. With several colors of fondant I created the basis for a flower meadow.Β  I covered all cakes with ganache and green fondant (which I made a couple of days before). I left the cakes to chill and started to decorate the day of the party. To have more space to decorate (the figurines were big and I made a lot of flowers) I put the two big cakes next to each other and the small cake on top of one. Btw. the two lower cakes turned out to be the same size, although I did not have two equal pans. I used a method to avoid that the fondant touches the filling (the fondant would melt). For that you need to cut the edges of the cake and put it on top of the first layer (inside a cake ring). If you have two or three layers, you need to cut the border accordingly. Also, of course the border is a little too long, so you can shorten it. There are pictures of the process on Tortentante.de, where I found this method. It really works and when you make one border thicker than the other, you can adjust the size of the cakes a little. Additionally, my smaller cake got a little more ganache, so that at the end both cakes came out almost twin like.. almost, because I made one of them smaller in height. I used two eggs less in the batter and less cream filling. With that I achieved a slight difference, which makes it a little less boring and gives Flip some support when he leans against the higher cake.
With edible glue me and my sister decorated the cake with Maya and her friends, butterflies and flowers. At the bottom of each cake we made a border out of colorful candy. To cover the tray I sprinkled grated green fondant in different shades.

It was a lot of work, but I think it was worth it. We put two candles onto the cake, which my niece loved πŸ˜‰ She didn’t really care about the rest.. haha.. well.. she is two, so she won’t remember, but there are a million pics, which will remind her and I hope she will like it πŸ™‚
I will post the recipe for the lemon-rasberry and chocolate cake soon, so if you are interested, please follow πŸ˜‰

Hope you have a great and not too beesy week ahead!

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