Wednesday, February 29, 2012


My parent's beloved dog Sammy had to be put to sleep yesterday. He suffered from some health issues. It was his time. He was only 4 years old.

Sam was one spunky Golden Retriever. He was not at all like Rusty, the Golden we had growing up. You know the dog in Marley & Me? Yea, Sam had a similar sense of humor. He made sure you knew he was there. Even on the last day I went to visit him the little bugger couldn't help himself and tried stealing my scarf.

To Meatball, we referred to him as Cousin Sam. (Meatball understands.) Although the two didn't always get along, it was nice having another dog in the family to help "socialize" Meatball.

Meatball didn't always share though. And anytime Sam tried to play with one of Meatball's toys, Meatball would snatch it back. Sam learned quickly to wait until Meatball was sleeping. Then sneak attack! They were an unlikely pair but they made it work.

Everyone says a pet is a member of the family. It's true.

We'll definitely miss Sam. Luckily Rusty will be there to welcome him into doggy heaven.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Sunday would have been a good day for some of that snow we were supposed to get. That never happened. Instead I had no good reason for not leaving the house all day. But worse things have happened.

I did mostly spend the day working on Meatball's painting. His eye is piercing blue but I like it.

In other Meatball news, we played fetch today. This might surprise a number of people, but he CAN actually run. And he runs quite fast. But most importantly, he makes ridiculous faces when he runs. Like any respectable bulldog, his jowls flap in the wind!




Yes, it was a great Sunday.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day


Nothing beats a homemade valentine. Better yet, a valentine with some humor cheesy humor!

I found this Valentine's Day light bulb tutorial and knew immediately I wanted to make one for my Valentine.... because I like giving him electricity-related gifts. See also here.

The tutorial has good, detailed instructions, plus a link to how to empty out an old light bulb. All went according to plan...





Is that a reference to the Electric Slide lyrics?

Why, yes. Yes, it is.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Meatball

Meatball will finally be getting his own painting. He's earned his keep around here.


I've partly been holding off  until now because I wanted him to be full grown before freezing his image. Even though he was super cute as a puppy.

Our walks are still a lot like this.

Every time I look at his puppy pictures I want to get another puppy. Every. Time.

So.. I have his painting sketched out. Not sure how long the rest will take. But soon I'll have my two favorite pets of all time painted. I'm excited.

Friday, February 10, 2012


There are things I really should be doing right now. I woke up early on my day off and I don't have much 
to show for it. 

For the last hour or so I've been learning a new Photoshop skill. Via Bower Power I learned how to enhance the eyes of my photo subjects. I might actually be able to apply this to people one day. But not today. Today I enhanced Meatball.

Amazing, right?

This actually was not super difficult. Most of my hour was spent downloading the Photoshop Actions to actually do this, which I highly recommend.

So far Pioneer Woman has given me a lesson in turkey brining and free Photoshop Actions. I like her.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Country Roads take me home

There is a farm that I pass on my way into work, and on my way home. Everyday. Actually I pass quite a few farms. But there is one that I am in love with. This farm has a really good-looking farmhouse. 
Check this guy out.

farmhouse copy

Yes, today I finally stopped and took a picture.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monkeying Around

monkey painting2
Completed 2012
I am assuming the future child that is getting this painting will be a Redskins fan. (According to his father he has no choice.)

I am also assuming this future child will like monkeys. Let's hope so. So far his world is covered by them.




Shout out to Meatball for helping with this one.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Monkey Cake: Part 2

Cake baking is intense. While making the cake topper took a good chunk of time, the actual cake took longer. 

Tasks included:
- baking 3 boxes of cake mix,
- making a double batch of icing (recipe here)
- making a double batch of fondant (recipe here)
- miscellaneous
- decorating

Beginning with the fondant: I bought some pre-made store-bought fondant to make the details, including the monkey and other shapes. However, because it can get expensive to buy the pre-made stuff, I thought I'd try my hand at making some. The homemade stuff would cover the cake- be the canvas if you will.

The marshmallow recipe I found on was pretty straightforward. I just underestimated the quantity it would make. (Which is why I doubled the recipe.) I also underestimated how messy it would be.

You start by melting mini marshmallows in the microwave until completely melted. This is the largest bowl I own and it was filled almost completely with marshmallow. I should have regrouped at this point, but did not. Into this bowl I still had to add four pounds of confectioners' sugar.


You slowly add the sugar until the dough becomes more firm.

At this point I was seriously questioning my methods. Why do I not have a KitchenAid?


Then you knead. And knead some more. Then knead a bit more until if finally starts resembling dough. Then you toss it in the fridge overnight and hope that its easier to work with the following day.


And then you clean up your mess. (The dog will handle cleaning the floor.)


Next day... 

The cakes are baked. The icing is made. Now comes the assembly!

Before rolling out the fondant, the cakes got iced. Although shown here with only icing in the middle, they did eventually get fully coated. The icing works like glue for the fondant.



After rolling out sufficiently large pieces of fondant, the cakes were, ever so carefully, wrapped in fondant and trimmed.

Starting to look like real cakes

Of course before stacking the two, the engineer in me assessed the situation and determined there needed to be structural support. After marking where the top layer should go, I added some wooden dowel rods.


Structurally sound

So FINALLY at this point, it was time to decorate. This is actually where the fun began. I even got so consumed with decorating that I neglected to take pictures of the progress. Oh except for these pictures of dyed fondant and of me using the cookie cutter.



 Actually, circles were the foundation of this cake. Why? Because they are easy.

In the end the cake turned out better than I expected. A success! And despite all the planning and work that went into it, I enjoyed it. I may actually do this again.