Birthdays are a big deal in this house. Adults and children alike, we write lists, drop hints, buy gifts, blow up balloons and eat cake and, for me, a birthday is not a birthday without a cake of some kind. Shop bought or homemade, I don't care, but cake is necessary, no essential, for proper birthday celebrations. This post prompted me to dig out the external hard drive and delve through all the photos on it (which go back about ten years - I lost a couple of hours in that hard drive). I was on a mission to find a photo of every birthday cake I'd ever made for Bella and Angus.*
It's funny how, on seeing the cakes, I am straight away transported back to the special day, to a certain mood or feeling - usually panic. In amongst the lurid greens and unnaturally bright blues we have a round chocolate cake for Angus's first birthday, followed by a Peppa Pig car (we were deep into the Peppa Pig phase in that year I seem to remember), a union flag, a green monster and a dinosaur this year for his fifth. I still shudder when I look at that car. I was in my "I can do fondant icing, oh yes I can" phase. I can't. I hate the stuff, to work with and to eat. It tastes like plastic. Now buttercream, oh yes, buttercream I love. To work with and to eat.
And for Bella...well, there appears to be a lot of pink there. Hmmm. There seems to be a clear gender divide going on in these photos. In my defence, if you ask a four year old girl what kind of birthday cake she would like she is probably more likely to say pink castle than green three eyed monster. So we have here a sensible round cake for Bella's second birthday, a train for her third and then I lost my mind and made her a castle for her fourth. That bloody castle very nearly killed me off. Under the turrets (shop bought swiss roll with ice cream cones on top) were seven layers of badly dyed rainbow sponge. I don't know what I was thinking. It was SO heavy, and it snowed on the day of her party and I remember the car sliding around on the way to the soft play centre we'd booked, and me sitting in the passenger seat with the cake on my lap just thinking "please let us and the cake get there in one piece..." We did, and I came down with the flu the next day.
|This is what photos look like pre-blogging!|
For her fifth, a butterfly. That photo was taken on my phone just before we left for the party. I don't think I took a proper photo of it, I was probably too busy flapping. For her fifth birthday party, my friend Kate and I had hired a church hall and planned a joint party for Bella and Kate's son Sam. The bouncy castle we'd booked was half an hour late. The children's entertainer didn't turn up. It might be one of the most stressful experiences of my life. Kate and I had to do the "entertainment" for about 45 children. Hideous, just hideous. I remember Kate shaking afterwards in the kitchen saying "I need a bloody drink". Anyway, I digress. The following two cakes are much more tasteful. There is still a lot of pink going on, but I remember thinking that her sixth and seventh birthday cakes were actually enjoyable to make. You may notice that Smarties are my decorating tool of choice! They're just so perfectly rainbowy, and sorting them into little bowls of individual colours is excellent de-stressing behaviour right before hosting a party.
But I've not mentioned the most special part of a birthday cake. The candles. A cake is not a birthday cake without them.
For the memories of a toddler to small to blow them out, who just spits all over the cake in their exuberant efforts instead; for the memories of a group of six year olds singing Happy Birthday To You out of tune; for the memories of "make a wish!" and of matches and cameras that are nowhere to be found at the crucial moment - that is why I love birthday cakes so much. They are part of the fabric of family life, part of the patchwork quilt of memories made and photographs taken.
So our birthdays are as much about sparkle as they are colour. Birthdays are for celebration, for light and glitter, gold and silver, flickering and warm.
Happy first birthday to the Colour Collaborative! It's been a joy working alongside these talented bloggers for the last year. Most prompts I've loved, some have been work hard, some have been very last minute, but it's always been rewarding and, more importantly, enjoyable. Many happy returns, ladies.
If you'd like to read the birthday posts by the other Colour Collaborative bloggers, please follow the links below. Not all posts may be up just yet.
Annie at Knitsofacto
Sandra at Cherry Heart
Jennifer at Thistlebear
Claire at Above The River
What is The Colour Collaborative?
All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a colour related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about colour in new ways.
*I did, bar one. I cannot find a single photo of Bella's first birthday cake. That's really annoying, as I seems we took about 10,000 photos in Bella's first year.