Thursday, January 6, 2011

When I fail, I fail big.

I mean, BIG.  Monumental.  It’s almost impressive, is what it is.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Already.  I should start at the beginning.
As embarrassing as the following photos are (especially in comparison to how well the Pretty Polka Dot party turned out for mini earlier this month) I realized it really had been a long time since I blogged about a project FAILURE.  Originally, when I began this blog I had the idea that I’d mostly be posting a lot of “hey, I totally stink at this, but I’m still doing it anyway, so take that all you crafty pros!” projects.  Like this, for instance.  Or this.  And some of this.  Oh, oh!  And this one!!  Ha!  Well, I’ve strayed from that quite a bit.  Which either means I am failing less or staying within my comfort zone more... But I do hope all this practice and developing my skills and inspiration/idea stealing stuff is paying off.  Anyway, in the interest of full disclosure, and as a nod to my “chronicle of mistakes” so to speak, AND just to keep me humble, allow me to tell you a story.   About a party.  A Planes, Trains, and Automobiles party. 
It sounds wonderful in theory, doesn’t it?  I gathered a lot of inspiration.  (Just google it; wow.)
It started out well enough, with this invitation.  I designed it in Picnik.

I also used this wreath to set the tone.  

Remember it?  It’s the same wreath from here, just turned around.  

You can see the tutorial here.  
Now, as far as the amazing amount of things I was going to get done, but didn’t:  I was going to make a paper chain with this pattern on some of the links:
and red, blue and turquoise links to tie the colors together.  I was going to make a big railroad crossing sign and post it on the outside of the door, just to set the tone.  I was also going to build a fun race car ramp to have races on as part of the games.  We were going to decorate shoebox cars, then put them on our feet and race the length of the front room.  (Have you ever seen that done?  It’s so funny!)
Ok, Ok, I was too ambitious.  mr says I have a habit of biting off more than I can chew.  Who, me???  Never.
I was also going to have the most fabulously awesome planes, trains and automobiles cake ever.  In my head it was beautiful.  It was three small tiers: the bottom tier was decorated like a road with a tiny matchbox car driving on it, the middle tier was decorated like railroad tracks with a small train on it and the top tier was decorated blue with white clouds and an airplane right in the middle surrounded by three candles.  It was fondant and edible food coloring markers and everything cool.  I had plans to practice ahead of time.  Something this elaborate needed research, some skill development, rehearsal, planning.  So what did I do?  I waited until the day before to begin, of course.
I know.  I should have scrapped the original idea right off the bat and just made a rectangle cake with a train on it.  I get it.  Logical Kimberly threw that two cents in the ring right off the bat. However, Stubborn Kimberly would have none of it.  And I’m sure you know how strong Logical Kimberly is compared to Stubborn Kimberly, i.e. super huge wimp.  Soooooo... with no practice and almost no research (does watching Ace of Cakes count?)  I leapt in.  
Oh, um, also, it was late on New Year’s Eve, because the party was on New Year’s Day, mid morning, so I knew I needed to work on it well before then.  You know, like a couple hours before.  Right.
Now, before I show you this cake I want to explain that fondant is evil.  Straight from the fiery depths of, oh you know.  I will NEVER use it again.  I worked up a sweat just trying to roll it out skinny enough.  I should have made my own, but, no time, right?  So, anyway, the fondant was totally uncooperative.  Then my darn edible food coloring marker things wouldn’t work right on the fondant surface.  Then I tried to fill in cracks in the fondant with white frosting (oh, I know you have an awesome picture in your head right now...) and it didn’t look too bad... but then I ran out of my black and brown markers.  Which totally threw me for a loop.  How do you make a road without black food coloring?  I finished at 3 in the morning and collapsed into bed next to a snoring mr who had no worries in the world.  (grumble, grumble).  The next morning, everyone woke before me, obviously, and mr was getting the kids up and dressed.  He must have been focusing on mini for a bit too long, because suddenly I heard mr run to the steps shouting, “bug!  What are you doing??”  I sprang from my bed in time for a downcast bug to be herded to my side issuing apologies for his “ruined cake.”  I ran down to see holes all over the top, smooshed in sides, a collapsed road and the candles deeply embedded...
Oh, why go on???  I will simply preface this photo the same way I prefaced showing the cake in person to my family.  “You are allowed to laugh for exactly 1 minute and then you must NEVER TALK ABOUT IT again.”
Oh, I know, I know.  It’s too tragic.  Fortunately, I wasn’t as mad at bug as I could have been because, really and truly, it was pretty horrendous in the first place.  But I tried to blame it all on him.  (no, not REALLY.)
Also laughable, though not quite as bad, were the airplane cut out cookies which actually look like obese mer-people.  Oh, and there are some swollen looking "3's" there too, obviously they were in a fist fight.  Sad.  

I didn’t even bother with turning the hot dogs into cars at that point.  We ate just plain old hot dogs.  Oh, the pathos.
I did like the “road” I made on the counter with a black plastic tablecloth and yellow duct tape.  

I found some Disney “Cars” blower things and took the cardboard car off so it was just the black and white checks.  I liked those too.  

Really the only other decorations were red, blue, turquoise and white matchbox cars strategically placed around the room, along with some orange cones.

The centerpiece was bug’s masterpiece.  He called it “Parking lot.”
I suppose the most important part was not that the cake was... well, an abomination, but that everyone did have fun.  We had a paper airplane building contest.  Mine won for “most spirally”... but everyone said I was biased.  

We put up some car tracks and raced some new cars, then the kids got to take their winners home.  Surprisingly, the ultimate winner in the car race tournament was my mom with the golf cart.  Not joking.  

And then we built trains out of candy.  mr decided to stray from the instructions and build Batman’s motorcycle from “Dark Knight.”  bug was supposed to be helping him, but...

And although the cake looked atrocious, it was yummy.  Phew.  
I can’t believe my little guy is getting so big!  Thankfully I pulled this horrible party off while he is still too young to care.  Next year I might not be so lucky, and when he’s 10?  Forget it. 
I try to see the silver lining in all my failures.

See below for the parties I link to!


April said...

Aw! The cake wasn't your fault! i am sure it was absolutely perfect before that hubby of yours let your son attack! That's what I would have claimed anyway! the rest of the party looked fabulous and I totally knew those where airplanes!

Unknown said...

you're a riot! I must confess. I'm glad the cake and cookies didn't quite turn out as expected because they made for your great storytelling and my biggest belly laugh of the year so far! so thanks kimberly. the "fail" was all worth it in my books.

and yes, your little guy loved every minute of it and didn't even notice these things, I bet. so it's ALL good.

Unknown said...

Looks like everyone had a great time, and that's really what's important, right?! If you ever try fondant again, try using food coloring and water and a paintbrush to draw things. It's so much easier!

Reba said...

I LOVE the balloon wreath - how creative is that? Looks like everyone had fun!

Unknown said...

I thought it was a nice cake:)

Suzanne Winter said...

ok, I'm over a year late leaving a comment, but I just found your blog and LOVED this post. We all have failure moments, and sharing them just keep the world a little less 'perfection' focused ;o) *ps- if you ever do decide to touch 'evil' fondant again, powdered sugar and a COLD heavy rolling pin (mine is marble) are your best friends. Roll it out on parchment paper, and roll the fondant loosely around your rolling pin to transfer it to the cake (to keep it from tearing) - I'm not a baker but I've been dabbling in fondant the last few years, with successes and failures along the way!!!

Unknown said...

i love it that ure not afraid to post something which u said is a failure...well its not! the cake is a work of art..and looking back im sure your boy will love you for it!

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