Tuesday, December 27, 2011

An Anvil... and a Rubber Mallet

I was invited to attend a party for someone who makes armor, so I thought an interesting item to take would be an edible helmet. I use the word "edible" loosely, here, because I was making it from fondant, which is basically play-dough made from powdered sugar, corn syrup, and shortening. Fondant tastes so bad that I can make cake decorations with it and leave them to dry overnight on the counter and know without a shadow of doubt that they will still be there in the morning, untouched. The last time any of my kids willingly ate fondant was when Harrison stole, then ate only half of, the number "4" off his Incredible Hulk birthday cake. All his siblings gave up a collective "Eeeewww!" when it was discovered. Above is a photo of 5lbs of untinted fondant.

One assumes a helmet would be silvery grey. I wanted the color a bluish-grey. From pics of helmets he'd made, they started out a regular metal color, and then he did some kind of metal voodoo that made them blue. I had to add a lot of blue, because the fondant just wanted to be teal, at first. Unless your faithful steed is a My Little Pony, teal just won't cut it. No one wants to say they were struck down by a warrior in a teal helmet.

Here, I've fashioned the helmet from rolled-out pieces of blue-grey fondant. I then mixed silver dust with vodka (you didn't think I'd leave out the vodka, did you?) and brushed it on with a pastry brush. I lightly sprayed silver dragees with dark brown food-grade spray paint, and when dried, pressed them into place as rivets. Using the tip of a paring knife, I "pitted" the helmet in an attempt to make it look battle-worn. This helmet is larger than life-size; the band that goes around it was 36" long! The more I worked on it, the more Steampunk it looked. It wasn't supposed to be steampunk. It was supposed to be... oh, I don't know.. not steampunk. I just couldn't help myself.

Close-up of rivets and pitting.

While I waited for the helmet to cure/ dry/ harden, I got busy making edible treats people would actually eat...

Peanut butter cups...

White chocolate-covered oreos with fun designs...

The Rorschach inkblot cookie above is a hammer... no wait, an alien profile.

Does this mean I'm crazy?

More oreos...

Chocolate mustaches...

Treats that double as photo props are always a hit!

I also made peanut butter pretzels dipped in chocolate, and chocolate shot glasses. I didn't get pics of those because they were not made of fondant, and were not safe to leave out on the counter for any length of time.
It's a good thing I made all the edible treats; within minutes of arriving at the house with the finished helmet, the bull in a china shop birthday boy came to me with a look of sadness. He said the helmet broke when he tried to take it out of the bag. I wasn't concerned; fondant often gets a crack or two in it. A little water rubbed on the crack and I can usually patch/ repair it pretty well. I looked at what he brought me and burst out laughing.

It was just several large pieces of dried edible play-dough in a bag. I decided then to leave the helmet-making to him, and stick with the chocolate. It didn't last long; I'm already thinking about the next helmet, and possible ways to reinforce it, so it's able to withstand the wear and tear of being a party centerpiece.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ten O'clock Scholar

There are only two places in the world where time takes precedence over the job to be done. School and prison. -William Glasser

My daughter has decided she no longer enjoys school. Many days are a fight to get her to go into the building. Next semester, we'll try online learning, interest-based learning, and possibly a part-time job.

Random Phone Pics, December

Yeah... I just don't have these boots, anymore. (Shudder!)

Not sure if this is an improvement, but I like the effort. And since it's lipstick, it wipes off. I hope they do more!

This is a real book. And you thought crazy old cat ladies only cooked with it!

Barnes & Noble gardening section.
We're doing it! We're doing it! There are books on mainstream bookstore shelves treating cannabis as, well, a plant- and not some horrible drug that was produced by the government and accidentally unleashed onto our children.

Organic gardening section...

Tattoo section...

I actually want this book!

The department of redundancy department.

Bachelor Chow is really going downhill, if you ask me!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Marriott Marina Hoo-Ha Hotel

Marriott Marina Hotel is very... Ladylike.
From the outside, it looks like a couple towers. But inside, it tells a different story.
I always look at the exit maps, when I get to my room. I want to know in which direction to crawl, and how many doorways to count before I'm at the exit, in case there is a fire.
So each time I left the room, I was faced with this diagram:

As you can see, we were staying in a very sensitive part of the hotel.
Also, as a how-to instructional sign, I'd say it's spot on.
Each time I took the elevator, I dissolved into a giggling fit.

What a perfect place for an elevator shaft!

It wasn't just the floor plan! The Marriott "Muffin" theme carried over into the decor! Throughout the hotel were several examples of smush-mitten interior design:

I loved staying in such a female-friendly hotel!