Friday, November 27, 2009

Giving Thanks

Shame on me, how I used to tease (gently) my mother about her utter reluctance to toss anything out - no matter how yellowed, brittle, mothballed, and virtually disintegrating. Waste not, want not, she likes to say. But of course, the corollary that follows is that she is steadfast, loyal, deeply devoted and selflessly giving to all the people she loves, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health.

Double shame on me, because it wasn't as if I grew up surrounded by clutter. Far from, in fact.

I know of no other woman more formidably organized when it comes to keeping house. From ensuring that every single little itty bitty teensy weensy nook and cranny was spotlessly clean, no mean feat in an old rambling bungalow, to coming up with ingenious storage solutions for shoring up the things she judged to be of potential future usefulness or sentimental value (which pretty much covers if not everything then let's just say a whole lot), her meticulousness and fastidiousness knew no bounds.

And so, in silly and rather juvenile reaction I'm afriad, I used to make it a point of pride to be a ruthless streamliner, a declutterer, a tosser-outter. Callously, zealously, methodically and periodically divesting, purging, ridding anything and everything - some of which I'll today confess to having done so much to my everlasting regret - which supposedly threw off-balance what I deemed to be the golden ratio between one's possessions and white space.

As I've gotten older, I like to think I've mellowed somewhat from the hardliner I used to be. Ok, I understate. As I've gotten older, I've gotten increasingly comfortable with setting my inner magpie free. Ah, the irresistable siren song of shiny objects both literal and figurative, be they cookbooks, shoes or yet another cakepan or cocotte or comport without which life couldn't possibly be complete. And I seem, more and more so, incapable of tossing anything out. Mummy dearest, I humbly eat my words. Nature abhors a vacuum, and no where is this scientific truth more apparent than the extent to which my shelves and cabinets are strained. Funnily enough, one could say without exaggeration that the way they've held up virtually defies the laws of physics and load bearing conventional wisdom.

Alright, enough of lamentation at my lack of horizontal surfaces on which to store objects.

A pretty-in-pink birthday cake for a very pretty little girl, C, thanks to her fabulous, loving and very indulgent mother, S. This adorable princess turned 3 in August - I know, this post is way overdue! - and I had the immense pleasure of crafting the cake.

The repeating floral motif is based on a scrap of vintage flocked wallpaper I had picked up and stowed away in my secret box(es) of pretty, shiny, inspiring and otherwise awesome things - in other words, the rationalized, compartmentalized manifestation of aforementioned magpie syndrome. In my (feeble) defense, it can on occasion come in rather handy, like when making pretty cakes for pretty girls.

Beneath the pink and floral facade? Essentially, a luxe strawberry shortcake - layers of vanilla seed-flecked buttery yellow cake sandwiched with billows of whipped mascarpone cream and succulent homemade strawberry preserves. The tall layer cake was then frosted with a silken coat of Swiss meringue buttercream, flavoured with fresh strawberry puree, which also serves to tint the buttercream the merest of lovely dusky pink.

Yesterday, I spent the better part of the afternoon with 2 grande dames, sisters, whose nonagenarian mother passed away 2 years ago, very shortly afterwhich their father followed suit. Treasure your parents, they are priceless, you don't tell them often enough just how much you love them and are thankful for...I was all choked up, but fortunately - extremely so, I realize - for me, I could still dial home and try to articulate, clumsily, an approximation of just how much I give thanks.


Blogger Allie said...

This cake is stunning! Very very lovely. I kinda wish I was the girl who got this cake for her birthday...haha.

Parents are wonderful...I can't get reminded enough to treasure them as they are. Happy thanksgiving!

7:31 p.m., November 27, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dearest Joycelyn - it's always such a pleasure to read your beautiful posts (although you've made me rather homesick this time :)) the birthday cake looks absolutely gorgeous too. am not sure where you are at the moment but keep my fingers crossed... keiko xxx

8:19 p.m., November 27, 2009  
Blogger Heather said...

What a beautiful cake! I sure it was absolutely delicious too.

8:43 p.m., November 27, 2009  
Blogger Nithya said...

After such a long time, a proper post from you. It was lovely to read, even more than it was to drool over your gorgeous cake.
Happy Thanksgiving to you.

2:15 a.m., November 28, 2009  
Blogger Sarah said...

That cake is gorgeous! I love the muted pink colour of the icing.

xox Sarah

10:07 a.m., November 28, 2009  
Blogger Linda K. said...


Your art is stunning to say the least. I have read past posts, expecially the robin's egg decorated snowflakes. Would you mind if I use your images in my blog, along with more of your posts for the ladies here in the states? I will go into more detail here. Thank you. Please feel free to correspond to
Kind Regards,
Linda @ Robin's Egg Blues ~

12:01 p.m., November 28, 2009  
Blogger Maarten le Noble said...


5:33 p.m., December 02, 2009  
Blogger gwenda said...

you write so well :)

9:59 p.m., December 05, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


6:30 a.m., December 06, 2009  
Anonymous austin homes said...

Beautifully decorated. It's all about detail!

1:57 a.m., December 09, 2009  
Blogger Beyaz Hanımeli said...

I love this cake, decorations, and colours. So lovely, so wonderfull.

7:25 a.m., December 20, 2009  
Blogger Jacque said...

Oh my, how lovely! It's so perfect too.

12:12 p.m., December 29, 2009  

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