While I should probably work from oldest to newest in catching up with my cakes and sweets, I cant help but to post a cake from just a month ago. It is the grandest cake I’ve ever made, I am still in awe of it! My client was a former neighbor that admits a frou frou cake wasnt her style but fell in love with some of the magical & dreamy carousel cakes on pinterest. It didnt take much convincing for her birthday girl to choose this pink and gold style when she showed her some examples. A carousel cake was on my wish list of to-dos so I was so ready for it! This party was at Jane’s Carousel in DUMBO, Brooklyn, now a must see and do part of NYC. The top tier of this cake was not edible. Macy and I came up with a hack to Wilton’s carousel cake kit that ensured I wouldn’t have stress or failure with the plastic horses, poles and carousel top. Wilton’s kit by itself is just asking for trouble. I could only see disaster happening by using it the suggest way, which is to sink the 4 poles into your cake and set, without any fixation, the carousel top onto the poles. WHAAAT? As a user of Craftsy classes and a fan of Jessica Harris Cakes I decided to use what I learned from Jessica’s Cakes for Kids class and combine that with Wilton’s kit. Mainly, I added a PVC pipe center idea. This made a huge improvement to the stability. I also premade this topper using a stryofoam dummy as the base to sink the PVC pipe and horse poles into (its easy to find 24″ pipes to cut down with a small hack saw at Lowes). The one other hack I made was to use a cardboard cake board round with holes for the poles and PVC pipe under the carousel top as a placeholder for keeping everything in line. All of this hacking took planing and time to execute. Im glad I took my time well before I was in baking mode to create the topper and I was ecstatic at how easy and secure this set up was when I finished! To assemble it with the cake all I had to do was set it in place. When the party was over it all came back apart and went back in the kit box (including my additions). I used non edible paint on the horses and poles. The rest of the decorations on the topper are fondant but not meant to be consumed. Hopefully, if I use this set again it will be another pink and gold cake, otherwise I’ll have to experiment repainting with some really good quality paint. This bottom tier of the cake was 10″ and for me that is HUGE! I do believe I have overcome a few of my fears doing this cake. First of all making a cake that big was not often a client request. I typically get asked for 8″ +6″ which is a great size for birthday parties. Or I make the bottom tier a fake 10″ + real 8″. But because the Wilton kit only fit 8″ or larger cakes I had to go up on the bottom tier. The other fear I’ve always had is delivery, which in NYC is a nightmare. You are never more aware of every pot hole in Brooklyn as when you deliever a cake! But I have found that refrigerating a cake (even though many cake decorators dont condone putting a fondant cake in the fridge) is the only way to ensure the least possible shake, shift and buldge during a car ride. This one was perfect when I set it up at Jane’s Carousel and I was told still without any flaws when they cut and served it about 2 hours later. YESSS thats what I want to hear! The kids and parents as well as my clients LOVED this cake! The children in particular were in awe. I feel like Santa unpacking his bag of gifts as I set up my tables, the kids always surround me and ask all kinds of questions. Kids are always curious of fondant, they want to touch it right away. I never mind letting them; poking their little fingers into a birthday cake is like a tradition. But they dont really know what to think of this hard icing, “what is it?” is what I hear most. I tell them is like play doh but made of sugar. “how did you make this?” is the other I hear, “with lots of practice” is the shortest answer I can give them! I was told after the party that the kids refused the cupcakes that were intended for them. They all wanted a piece of that carousel cake! Having my cakes in public view is a great, I love the feedback and kind remarks from passerby’s. This is the second party I have done at Brooklyn’s new riverside parks. It’s not an easy one to plan for the hostess (but so worth it) as the tables are first come first serve. Getting there early is the key, the park gets hoping by 10am so if you are planing a party at Pier 6 or Brooklyn Bridge park definitely get there before 9am to snag a table. I also made the cupcakes and cookies for this party. I often get asked for combos like this for parities: cupcakes for the kids, a smaller cake for the adults and cookies as take home favors. When a client is interested in taking the aesthetic of the party to the next level, I more than welcome their questions and freely give suggestions for resources and my tricks for table design. This included service when ordering sweets with me works well as the client is hands on in gathering and assembling decorations for their table and I get to see my cakes and treats surrounded by a well thought out table design. I also enjoy the collaboration with creative and excited hostess that are passionate in celebrating the special people in their lives. I also offer full service design and installation of desert tables with the same creative passion for aesthetics and sweet treats but without any work for the hostess on the day of the event. Either way full service or collaborations with clients makes me one happy girl!
Ive been saving the pictures from Halloween 2013 to post this year because on November 1st, no one wants to look at Halloween anymore. I on the other hand could look at Halloween inspiration everyday.
Last year Hudson, my now 4 1/2 year old son, chose our family costumes. He decided on his own that he wanted to be an astronaut. So we went with it, we were an out of this world Cosmic Family. His costume was super easy. Although I could have went a creative DIY route with it I decied a long time ago that its best to mix homemade with store bought to save time. So, Hudson’s costume was an offical NASA jumpsuit and a very awesome space helmet available still through NASA’s website, potter barn kids and various costume shops. DONE!
Jake was excited in implement a costume we’ve seen other families create as a space themed group, Mission Control. His costume was fairly easy to gather, real clothes and a few costume pieces like the headset and retro glasses. I found inspiration for the look from a gallery picture on NASA’s website, as well as a name badge to alter, I just plopped a pic of Jake in it and printed it in black and white.
We had to scratch our heads a little for Macy’s costume. She wasn’t as excited about the theme as the rest of us. But we found inspiration from Chanel Dror’s shooting star costume on CamilleStyles.com, a full DYI is on the link, check it out!
It was really right up Macy’s alley, it sparkeled and all we needed was a metalic leotard, ribbon and some glittery foam sheets. We scored a gorgeous mask too. Macy wanted a skirt instead of a unitard and I went with a multi star head band instead of a single star, I was inspired by this headpiece. (sorry the source has been lost).
I choose to be a martian AND the most exciting part for me was finding the best inspiration for a vintage martian. Not weird or scary alien, not sexy martian, just retro and just perfect!
These handmade costumes from the 60’s were found on Fritz Liess flickr site and he captions them saying that his mom made them for his cousin and she and her date won a costume contest at a dance. Of course they did! These are awesome!
So I had to make one for myself, which once again I dont really know how I did it, I just did. Without a pattern just from looking at these pics. It was time consuming but the other costumes werent so I had the time to really focus on mine. Making some changes like the length and head piece to suit me better.
Your getting a peek of my party table from our open house on Halloween night, there is more to come about my treats and decor finds!
Although there is always decor and good food at every holiday in our home, we really love Halloween because of the costumes. We’ve made it a big deal out of it since our college days and love that we could incorporate it into a family affair.
One of our most loved and also well published family costumes is our Wonderland Family, check it out!
I have so much to share in this post. This post is not about sweets or interiors or even ballet. Its about being a proud parent and an exciting event in my daughters life. Its a post about that one time (of many more to come maybe) Macy was in a movie! It is info, picture & video heavy because Ive been saving it up for two years, not joking. And Im really using this post as a personal web log to save and cherish, I hope you enjoy reading along.
In April 2012 as Macy prepared for her 4th grade state tests we receive a call from her agent that she had been “booked” for a feature background role in a movie. Macy had been going on auditions for about 9 months with a couple of call backs and a lot of disappointment. Im no stage mom and I hardly knew what was going on half the time or what we were getting ourselves into but I understood the word “booked” and it was a big deal. Macy didn’t audition for this role, in fact I had blacked out her week for state tests, meaning I told her agent she was unavailable. We really couldnt believe that of all weeks this would come up on this one. But it seems that the director had hand picked Macy from her headshot and she was guaranteed the part, we just had to say yes. So we did what any parent would do, we freaked out. 4th grade state tests are super important in NYC, the results are sent to middle schools when the application process happens in 5th grade. We thought we were pretty crazy for allowing anything to disrupt Macy concentration but fortunately the filming took place in the afternoon after the tests. So it was actually possible for us to let her do this without any conceqences.
We weren’t told much about the movie, just it was a pre-production flash back scene for the character “Young Marie”, it was set in 1960’s Brooklyn and called Blood Ties. I was able to find out other info just because the movie already had an IMBd page. It was a crime thriller and full of well know names, squeal! The cast includes Clive Owen (Chris), Billy Crudup (Frank), Marion Cotillard, Mila Kunis, Zoe Saldana, James Caan & Lili Taylor (Marie). It is directed by Guillaume Canet a french director and husband of Marion Cotillard.
Macy was to have a wardrobe fitting on Monday and the filming was on Wednesday, so we handled it like this: We told Macy that she had won the part but it wasn’t until Friday so there was no point in getting all excited until after the tests were done. We went to the monday fitting but we surprised her and pick her up at school early on wednesday afternoon after her test was finished. Heres a video of me picking up Macy from school and telling her she was doing the scene that day:<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/90596255″>surprise news</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user26485187″>Nikki Berry</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
The wardrobe fitting was fun, it was in Williamsburg (Thats Brooklyn FYI) and Macy tried on three 60’s era outfits. The costume department went with a vintage white peasant top, jeans and blue keds.
We were to report to a Little Italy address for the filming. The location was the production offices where we met the other two children that were in her scene and the kids were dressed. The scene would include a Young Frank played by Eli Tokash and Young Chris played by Austin Williams. I got to chat with the other parents while we waited, Young Frank had taken a red eye bus from Virgina and Young Chris lived in NYC, he was a seasoned child actor who worked for 6 years One Life to Live and also had roles in Michael Clayton and The Good Shepard.
Since this was a pre-producitons scene there wasn’t a lot to it. It wasn’t like the trailers and cables and crew that we run across in NYC everyday. No catered food tables (darn!) It was just a small crew and the scene was to be filmed with a real Super 8 camera as it was to be used as a home video that one of the characters watches in the movie.
We loaded up in a van with the director, crew, the other kids and their families and they took us to a gritty park in the Lower East side, I think they intended for the kids to just play baseball there. We waited around for a while while the crew and director discussed the location. It wasn’t to the directors liking, he envisioned grass. So they loaded us up again and took us to Central Park. I took a few videos while we were waiting and watching. My favorite is the part where the director is talking with the kids and shows them the vintage gloves they are to use. Macy tells him hers isn’t good, it has no laces. I wanted to be mortified that she was giving him any grief but this is typical Macy, she’s not really trying to be difficult she was just letting him know. He does seem to mind though, he just gives her another one.<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/90589812″>Macy filming blood ties in NYC</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user26485187″>Nikki Berry</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
The kids played tag, baseball and climbed on the natural rock formations in Central Park, the director acted as the “Dad” filming the kids with the Super 8 camera, directing them to do what kids do, including picking on the little sister. There was no real acting or lines. It was very casual and fun for Macy and it didn’t take more than an hour. After we were done we returned to the production office and Macy changed. And that was it. Then the anticipation began!
We over heard a lot of information just waiting for this scene to take place, such as the filming to end in July, so I knew it would be a long time to wait before the movie was released. I assumed it would be at least a year. So we tried not to get too excited because this didn’t seem like a very important scene and we all know that scenes get cut from movies all the time. We also knew that we wouldn’t be told anything about the movie before it came out or invited to any pre-release screenings, it just wasn’t that big of a role. So we kept the news about it all very low key, only telling our family. As the filming got started I was able to see press on the other scenes being filmed all around NYC, a lot were in Brooklyn and Queens. Here are some press shots.
Then in May 2013 we got really excited, the film was shown at Cannes International Film Festival! Release dates for other countries started showing up but there wasn’t any US dates! Something obviously was going wrong with the distribution in the US, it was killing us to know that the movie was done and we couldn’t find out if Macy’s scene was in it!
So here it is March 2014, nearly 2 years after the scene was filmed and Jake and I run across Blood Ties on iTunes. I could say that we were a little disappointed that it didn’t make it to the big screen. We honestly don’t know why, it had all the right names to make it there. I really wanted to see Macy’s head 10′ tall and scream out “thats my daughter” to a bunch of strangers in a dark theater. But at least it was finally available to watch. Then the real suspense began. At this point I almost didn’t want to know, I didn’t want to know for a fact that the scene was cut. We already knew that Macy wasn’t listed in the cast on the IMBd page. Young Frank and Young Chris were, but I also knew that the boys had a bigger scene to film together that didn’t include Young Marie.
So we didn’t tell Macy, we put the kids to bed and we watched it with very low expectations. The movie is 2 hours long and we both liked it. It was a good story about brotherly love, hince the title Blood Ties. One brother is a cop, one is a criminal that just can’t be good. They don’t get along very well but do what matters most for each other. So at 1 hour 54 minutes into the film Clive Owen (Chris) sits in his living room with a projector and watches old family movies. Jake and I jump up and run to the screen. Its like 5 seconds tops but it shows the boys climbing the rock formations and at the last second MACY COMES RUNNING AT THE CAMERA SMILING AND LAUGHING!!!! We scream, its midnight at least but we don’t care what the neighbors think, OUR BABY GIRL IS IN A MOVIE!!!
So here is the scene, don’t blink because you’ll miss her!<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/90596023″>Macy’s scene in Blood Ties</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user26485187″>Nikki Berry</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
When we told Macy the good news she reacted the way most people would, she jumped up and down in excitement. Big or small it was an experience that she enjoyed and also even thought she wasn’t in the credits (double darn!) she can put it on her resume. We do plan on getting her name on the cast list on IMBd, there are several extra actors that have attached themselves to the list that are uncredited, we think Macy deserves that just as much.
Blabla Kids makes contemporary hand knitted dolls, apparel, toys and blankets. Since 2001 its precious stuffed critters and dolls have been created from natural fibers and knitted by artisans in Peru. I could call them heirloom toys but it seems every kid I’ve come across carrying one of the stuffed animals nearly loves the thing to death. Luckily parents have figured out that the toy can be repaired and I’ve seen several miracle repairs shared on social media. So it seems that they really are meant to be a life long friend for some kids. When my neighbor asked me to do a cat cake for her daughter’s 2nd birthday, I knew that the cat had to be her Perchance Blabla doll that she calls “Cat”and is never seen without.
There are several Blabla cats to choose from but its not perchance that my neighbor’s daughter carries the one that blends in purrfectly (I had to do that one) with her home decor, shes cool like that. Ive raved about her wallpapered column before and its now been an awesome backdrop to 3 of my cakes (Ive yet to post the new superhero cake)
I love to do petite cakes, 6″+4″ are my favorite. I was extra inspired by all of Blabla’s joyful designs, when I sat down to sketch a cake I couldn’t stop coming up with beautiful ideas. I now have a few to-do cakes that I look forward to making soon.