Side yard before and almost afters.



In May it will be two years since we moved to our home.  I love this house, love our neighbors, love the location, love our big old yard, love the all the natural light in our house.  There is a lot to love.  However we knew going in that there would plenty to do to make it the home our own.  I think the first update we did was new toilets.  One of the kids had taken to calling them Grandma toilets.  Why, I don’t know, but they were tiny, and didn’t work properly, ever.  Now, I’m sure you’ll be disappointed, I don’t have picture of toilets today.  Most of our updates have been not super exciting, like the toilets, or fixing shredded window screens, or outdated smoke detectors.

The yard has been a little more fun. The original owners built this home as their dream home from what we’ve been told. He loved to garden and she realllly like pink(more on that later).  By the time the house came to us, however, the yard had been the victim of benign neglect for about 8 years.

This is what we started with-


Weedy and rocky, the soil was like cement.  The weeds were even kind of sparse because the ground was so hard.


One upside was that it was nice and shady in the afternoon, and we don’t have much shade on our property.  The weeding went fast and the existing lilac and buckthorn were in good shape.  I used some wood mulch from some stumps we had ground down to suppress the weeds.


This the best “after’ picture I got.  Since this was taken, I planted another butterfly bush along with some pansies and sea oats grass, and transplanted another brookside geranium.  In the spring I hope to divide the hosta and add some more color.


Catch up

I realized that I hadn’t posted many of the cakes I made last year and that maybe I should catch the blog up.

First up is Leif’s birthday cake.  It was his second birthday, but the first cake I’ve made for him.  On his first birthday we had just moved in and my parents had come to visit and my Dad and I picked out a single cupcake for him at the grocery store.  Poor baby.  There isn’t even a picture to document it.  Maybe that is good thing.

As for his second, at the time he lived and breathed trucks of all kinds and especially construction trucks, and chocolate.  I went with a pretty simple design, chocolate frosting, cookie “dirt” and toy trucks.  He loved it.IMG_2159 IMG_2158


About seven years ago, my brother introduced me to blogging.  I quickly started a little family blog like the rest of the world and this blog for my cakes. Everyone was blogging and then everyone joined Facebook, and just like everyone else, I let my little family blog go.

Over the years, I’ve wanted more of an outlet for my other hobbies, quilting, gardening, etc, but felt like I couldn’t post them here.  After all, this is a cake blog, what if my three followers got mad.  Then I realized that the blogs I most enjoyed featured a variety of things and I just might enjoy blogging a little more as well, if I turned my attention to whatever is most exciting to me at the moment.  So as of today my blog subtitle is no longer ” Just Cake”, but “what makes life sweet”.  Hopefully I’ll post a little more often, and still have a some sugary eye candy frequently enough to make my baker friends happy!


Cake Trends and My Summer Cakes


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After about ten years of making cakes, I can look back and see clearly some of the trends wedding cakes have gone through in the last decade.  Shortly after I first started everyone wanted 3 tiered square cakes with ribbon wrapping the bottom edge. 026susanawilcox 001I had forgotten how much I loved this cake, still one of my favorites.

ferndell11-05 043After the square trend faded, most of the wedding cakes were round.  The new trend seemed to be grooms cakes, like these:bentley cake 015

mario cake 011076

There’s been other trends of course, and I really don’t do a ton of cakes, but this summer I notice the shape of cakes changing again.  This first cake was so fun to do,  I thought the simple clean lines and the color were just gorgeous.  It is always fun to do a cake that appeals to your own design style.  The dahlia was made from gum paste and was the element that caused me the most stress, having never done one before.  The plaque was made with modeling chocolate, using a technique that my sister in law Veronica taught me this summer.


DSC_0148I was also lucky enough to have my brother and family visiting at the time and he graciously took some great photos for me.  Thanks Forest!

The next cake was done for a sweet and sassy bride that I had the chance to teach at church.  It was a joy to be a part of her special day.  I loved the design she choose as well.  Notice the silhouette, narrow stacked tiers with an extra tall center tier.


Love the flowers, her florist did an awesome job.  Those extra tall tiers can be tricky to cover, but I love the look.  This one was hand painted with gold lustre dust.

I love seeing the changes come and go, what do you think will be the next big thing in wedding cakes?

A Cake with Kick


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IMG_1229I have so many cakes that I need to post , owls and race cars and even a snowflake covered wedding cake.  But this Tae kwon do cake is the most recent.  My neighbor and her family are some of my best customers.  This cake was for Peter, an awesome yellow belt, for his birthday party at the Tae Kwon Do studio he attends.  Devil’s food with vanilla buttercream and mm fondant.

IMG_1232I made 25 of these little ninja cuppies.   I should have taken pictures of the process but  it was midnight and i didn’t think of it til I was done.  Would anyone be interested in a little tutorial on how I made them?

Boots and a belt buckle.


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Over a year ago I received a phone call from a mother of a bride who was searching for a baker willing to do a sculpted cake, specifically two pairs of cowboy boots.  And a wedding cake with a belt buckle.  What a fun order!  I ‘d tell you what flavors they were, but its been so long I can’t remember.

His boots.

Her boots.

My first wedding cake wearing a belt buckle,  notice the gun toting bride and groom.

All together.



A Bun in the Oven


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I don’t usually post too much personal stuff on this blog but I thought that maybe I should give a few reasons for my nearly year long absence.   For a while last fall, life was wild, we went on a trip and came back to a flooded home, my sweet grandma passed away and my mother came to stay for over a month while she and her siblings settled my grandmas estate.  But by far the biggest change in our life was that we found out we were excitedly expecting our fourth child.  I am not the happiest baby haver,  I get pretty sick and had gestational diabetes,  so while there were a few cakes in that time, none of them were posted.  Hopefully I’ll get to that soon!  In the meantime, maybe you’ll forgive me if I post something way cuter than any cake I’ve ever made.


My four sons!

Brand new little guy.  He had one serious rash, which thankfully went away after about a week or two.

At about six weeks.

Mario gets Married


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This was a fun one.  The bride wanted a very simple wedding cake and placed her order.  Then a few days later she called with the request of an old school Nintendo Gaming system.  My family had one of these bad boys and my brothers were awesome at playing Mario, Paperboy, Zelda.  I however was terrible!   Back to the cakes, the wedding cake was vanilla butter cake with vanilla butter cream on the bottom cake and snickerdoodle cake with vanilla buttercream on top.  The grooms cake was devils food with vanilla swiss meringue buttercream.


Princess Peach and Mario were provided by the bride and groom.  Aren’t they cute?


We all scream for ….frozen cake?


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As we all know, it is tradition for a bride and groom to save their cake top until their one year anniversary.   Which makes sense, survive what is said to be one of the hardest years of marriage and as a reward you get to eat freezer burned year old cake.   The lovely lady that made my wedding cake didn’t agree and sweetly made Dave and I a fresh little cake for our anniversary.  It was delightful and a tradition that I gladly follow for couples who order a wedding cake from me.

Last year I made this cake and this year they picked up their complimentary first anniversary cake.

They chose to have it made in our butter vanilla with lemon curd,one of the flavors from their original cake.  Happy Anniversary!