(Illustration Friday) Making Cake

One year when I was a girl, my mother made an angelfood cake for my birthday. It was from a mix which included multicoloured sprinkles (some of you call those candy bits “hundreds and thousands”). I have no recollection of how old I was, whether all of my brothers were in attendance, whether all were still alive, even, or what present I might have received — I just remember the beautiful wedge of cake, and the fact that Mum had attempted it and it had turned out well.

Maybe I remember the scene because she was relaxed and pleased with her work for once. Mum’s culinary expertise lay in  pork chops, meat loaf, scalloped potatoes, pickled red cabbage, and green beans by the truckload, cheap, nourishing food that sustained seven people on a paint-factory worker’s paycheque. Maybe, on this particular evening, Mum’s face was as bright as that slice of white cake shot with rainbow dots of colour.

Whatever the reason, whenever I think of birthday cake, I think of that one.

I was quite pleased, then, at the card I made Aunt Theodora for her 95th birthday:

Sprinkles, glorious sprinkles.  They shower downwards at a gentle slant, thanks in great part to this nifty little paintbrush:The purple and yellow background dots were made with a round (think “ordinary”) brush, while the words took a rigger, a brush with longer, fewer bristles, so that it will hold a decent amount of paint while producing thin lines; it’s also called a script brush.

And here is a close-up of the candle. The photo doesn’t show the shininess of the blue. I mixed the blue paint with gum arabic, a liquid that greatly slows the drying time, and then coloured in the flame, starting at the top and finishing by touching the yellow to the blue and tipping the card upright. The result wasn’t quite what I wanted; the time I’d tried this before, the yellow stayed yellow and didn’t blend to make green. Will have to keep experimenting.

although I composed the words for the card, there have likely been hundreds of riffs on the same theme in the history of commercially-produced birthday greetings. So sue me. I’ll pay my lawyer with one Cardi, and you can have the other one.

Anyway, the fact that both the plate and the words on the outside of the card use the same colour helps to give a “black and white” effect to the inside — with just a little added sweetness:

There you have it.

No cats were harmed in the making of this card.

10 Responses to (Illustration Friday) Making Cake

  1. eyegillian says:

    I love your story about your mom and the champion sprinkle cake. The card you made is even better because of the story behind it — what a marvelous piece of cake to give Aunt Theodora for her birthday!

  2. lavenderbay says:

    Thanks, Eyegillian! It was nice to be able to pull it off; kinda like that imaginary Arthurian dragon I gave to Ginger.

  3. Novroz says:

    Nice story :)
    Aunt Theodora is awesome! 95 years…amazing!

  4. Ahh. That’s a sweet memory of your mother’s cake. Nearly as sweet as your card.

  5. Binky says:

    Your cat looks like s/he’s going to make her own card.

    Nice story, nice card, and nice that your aunt is 95!

  6. Tony McGurk says:

    That’s a real letdown when the card is openned & the cake is gone :-P Looks like kitty is having fun, or as Dixie would say, planning something evil.

    Note: I initially thought I had come to your blog. Then as I got to the end I noticed the Nice Person Award in the sidebar with George Bofur & Evil Fred which then made me have a confused senior moment. So I had to scroll back up to the header to check who’s blog I was actually on, yours or S. Le’s. It ain’t easy getting old…

  7. lavenderbay says:

    I agree, Novroz, it is amazing. Aunt Theodora still lives in her own home. She has children living close by who keep an eye on her, but she keeps house and gets her own meals and knits baby clothes and cares for a cat!

    Thanks, Barefootheart! I guess that recollection is pretty important. There comes a time when one needs to start remembering the good things about one’s parents. ;)

    Cuca the cat is pointing out the bottle of gum arabic, the one with the yellow liquid. Actually, he’s playing with an evil rubber ducky. (Not sure which explanation is less credible here…)

    I hate making people sad, Tony, which is why the inside of the card promises another slice.
    Re your note: Aunt Theodora is actually the reason that S. Le’s award stands out. I used to have all my awards in the sidebar, but when Aunt Theodora started reading my blog, I moved them to a separate page because she’s still on dial-up and stuff takes a while to load. S. Le’s award is one of the ones I decided to keep on my home page.

  8. Novroz says:

    May I know her secret to live healthy? ;)

  9. lavenderbay says:

    I wouldn’t presume to speak for her, Novroz, but some of the things I’ve noticed about her are a steady, quiet faith, supportive, loving family, a long, happy marriage to a farmer, lifelong friends, pets to care for, and pastimes that produce useful, beautiful things for other people. I think you have some of those things too, so you’re on your way!

  10. Novroz says:

    Yaiii \(^^)/
    Now,I need to find myself a farmer for a husband ;)

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