Clark’s First Birthday: The Cupcakes

Okay, so where are those Wilton Sugar Sheets I hyped up? Why are all the cake pictures missing from the last post? Things were getting a bit too long for explanations, so I decided to break it up into two posts. Again, I apologize that I might be missing some pictures. Most of these were taken with my cell phone as I worked through the process. We used three types of cupcakes: chocolate and funfetti with vanilla icing, and carrot cake with cream cheese icing (because YGG always talks about eating your carrots!).

When you open the sugar sheets, they have a plastic backing to help keep things smooth. The less you handle these sheets, the better because they are a sort of gumpaste and will break down in reaction to the moisture in your hands. That being said, you can “repair” sheets if you need to by using water and letting them dry a bit. If you keep them out of an airtight container, they will dry out, so remember to push as much air out of the bags as possible after each use. They tasted like gumpaste or fondant, but because they sat on the top of the cupcake, you could pull them right off if you didn’t like the taste.

I chose to make all of my cupcake toppers the night before so I wouldn’t have to spend all day making them. That being said, cutting out and assembling the faces for 32 cupcakes took over six hours (with about two hours of help from a neighbor!) so plan on only making a few, or you are going to spend a lot of time preparing.

To make my shapes, I cut out cardboard and covered it in foil (rather meticulously to retain the specific shapes) of the larger pieces on each character’s face. I need no more than a sheet of each color (in most cases, I had over a half sheet left). I also used food coloring markers, piping gel, and a very cheap (food safe) paintbrush. I sterilized a pair of scissors to make the process much easier than using the rotary cutter designed for the sheets.

First, I traced the desired number of each piece close together on the sheets with a similar color of food coloring markers (I bought the primary pack with red, green, blue, yellow, and black). I then cut out each piece LEAVING THE PLASTIC BACKING ON. I did not remove the backing until each piece was assembled, when I painted piping gel on the back of the piece almost like using rubber cement. I then placed each piece on a paper plate to dry. Because I didn’t want to retain pliability, I didn’t mind letting them dry out.

I freehanded all of the small eyeballs and teeth, and used the food coloring markers to add things such as the black of Muno’s mouth and the insides of all characters’ eyes, Toodee’s whiskers, Brobee’s unibrow, and Foofa’s nose/mouth. This was because cutting the tiny pieces became tedious very, very quickly, so using the markers moved things along. Notice that I didn’t use the markers for anything that required artistic ability 🙂

They looked SPOT ON after I was done. It completely validated all the hard work that we had put into the cupcakes.

I also made a dual “title” cupcake for Clark. This was completely freehanded and took a lot of patience. With the exception of the blue and yellow cutouts, everything was done by marker. The top is a computer printout, and the bottom is the actual sugar sheet finished product. I laid it over two cupcakes (one chocolate, one funfetti).

These are the final products before adding them on to the cupcakes:

So, why was I ultimately disappointed? Well, everything in the literature that came with the sugar sheets suggested that they would dry out, so if I put them on the cupcakes early, they should retain their shape. This was totally wrong. I assembled the sugar sheets the day before the party and added them to the cupcakes fifteen or so hours before, and they were completely wilted within a few hours. I will definitely use them in the future, but I will wait until an hour or so before serving to put them on icing next time. Here are the pictures of the wilted cupcakes. Definitely not as perfect, but still pretty exceptional. We got the look of custom cupcakes for way less than the custom price!

Clark’s First Birthday

Considering his party was at the end of August, this post is WAY overdue. And my Nikon broke after taking some of these pictures, so some of them are blue (literally), and of course we didn’t get pictures of a lot of the details. I handed off my camera to someone else for most of the party and completely forgot about it in the whirlwind of things.

As previously announced, Clark had a Yo Gabba Gabba! themed party. We picked this because it’s one of the few clear favorites he has displayed. He recognized the characters and names completely out of context and it was the only thing that would sooth him during the middle of the night teething pains. We also threw in some space elements because we redid his room in space gear (this wasn’t the final configuration of the room and there are other things like his bedding that will go with his new toddler bed).

Thus, these custom invitations were born:

We also included these inserts. People commented on how much they really appreciated having the sizes that he was going into so that they didn’t have to call and ask. I got this idea from the Gabba Friends website and made the template myself based on Yo Gabba Gabba’s signature title drawing.

We had the party at my parent’s house on the back deck and side patio. The back deck is octagonal with a gazebo so a lot of people hung out in the shade with the lounge couches. We had three long tables set up on the patio with chairs so people could sit or eat or watch the game. We stuck with generic red checkered plastic tablecloths (because they are used in Yo Gabba Gabba and we had a roll already). It was really low-key and we loved it!

Here are some of the guys on the patio watching the game. You can see the amazing pergola my dad built with a tarp over half to block the sunlight (and it’s collapsable on concrete footers, so it’s super strong, but can be taken down in case of a windstorm).

Check out two of the awesome banners I made! We’ll reuse these each year. Oh, and don’t mind the construction project in the background – it’s the stone pizza oven that my dad is building! Can you see a theme here??? He’s super amazing with his projects.

At the last minute (because I was up literally until 3 am for the three or four days preceeding the party and waited way too long to get them done) I painted some cool graphics. I freehanded the drawings on the back of wrapping paper and finished painting them in the middle of the kitchen while people were arriving (another reason why I didn’t take pictures). Then, my amazing friends helped me tape them up on the walls. We kept them for a couple of weeks taped to the outside of Clark’s bedroom door and the hallway outside his room. He thought they were super cool!

There were more cutouts that I don’t have pictures of. Anyway, other than that, we just had some random streamers hung around the patio/porch and on his birthday seat as well as decorated cupcakes. Like I said, pretty low-key. The only other “big” thing we did was make a DVD to loop on the indoor tv and to give to the grandparents. Jason edited all of Clark’s first year footage down to an hour over several weeks to get the timing just right. It was a big hit as well!

Here are some pictures of Clark opening presents and enjoying cake and ice cream!

Look at this adorable little patootie in his tool belt (surrounded by gifts that made him waaaaaayyy too spoiled)!

Waiting for birthday cake…

The next one isn’t focused correctly but it’s one of my favorites! It’s the moment Clark realized that he was ALLOWED to make a mess and dig in for once (and it’s so cute!).

And of course, my favorite:

Overall, it was a great and exhausting day for all of us and I’m so thankful for all the help of our friends and family! Thanks for making it a special day!

Happy Labor Day!

Hope you are enjoying an extra day with your friends and family. Here, we’re enjoying the HUGE change in the weather. It was 100 just a couple days ago, and today it’s a high of 67! Glorious, glorious fall!

It’s a Party! It’s a Party for Clark!

I’ve been working on something that probably shouldn’t be my focus right now (considering all the other things going on in my life) but I needed a distraction to give me a creative outlet amongst all the working and prepping and studying and reading, so I’ve been designing things for Clark’s first birthday party in August. Clark absolutely loves Yo Gabba Gabba. You wouldn’t think that a baby his age would have a preference for one show over another, but this kid can hear the music from another room and go crazy. If you step in front of him while it’s on, he fusses and rocks back and forth (or as of late, makes loud noises at you). We don’t let him watch too much tv, but getting ready in the morning necessitates a little Nick Jr. and thus we found out about the Yo Gabba Gabba angel.

While hunting for ideas, I found a lot of things I liked for invitations, but a particular set on Etsy caught my eye (no longer listed with the owner, I think possibly due to copyright infringement) and I knew I could recreate it in Photoshop. The invitations are a multi-paneled set of “concert tickets” with each of the characters and different colors. They are sized 2 inches by 6 inches, meaning that two images side by side can be printed as one photo (I use Snapfish and print to my local Meijer typically) and cut apart. This means that depending on the sale price, each invitation is between 4.5 and 14.5 cents. Not bad, huh? Here is how they turned out, with the vital info blanked:

After creating these, I posted a mockup of the Brobee version and a friend contacted me about making some for her daughter’s birthday in July, but with Winnie the Pooh. So here’s a mockup of one I threw together with placeholders.

In the spirit of helping out, I have decided to post a blank Photoshop file that anyone can use (if you have the right software, obviously) to customize your own tickets. Remember to save two separate files (to make two tickets), flatten the image, and combine them into one to fit on a 4 inch by 6 inch photo paper. Here is the file. *NOTE* You have to go to File> Download Original in order to receive the .PSD file and not a Google Viewer file.

There are still so many projects to make over the next few months, but I’m excited and I will hopefully be posting more templates if anyone needs help.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from TBP! Here’s a quick crappy cell phone pic for your viewing pleasure: