Octonauts Party

I made a chocolate cake for my nephew’s Octonauts themed party. It was a blast! (This is long overdue, as his birthday was back at the end of December, but better late than never.)

Devil’s food chocolate cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting inside is so yummy, this is the second time I’ve made it for his birthday cake. I also like to put chocolate bee bees in the cream cheese layers for extra chocolatey crunchies. The outside frosting is Swiss meringue buttercream.

Using the colorful meringue frosting, I piped out the corals, seaweed, and starfish and froze them a week ahead. Then the night before the party I simply placed them on the cake along with the toy characters. Such a time saver!

The “sand” is made from graham cracker crumbs mixed with finely chopped pecans. I couldn’t resist using Goldfish crackers for the cute fishes swimming around the cake.

Captain Barnacles is his favorite character.
Assembling the cake layers with the chocolate cream cheese frosting.
Professor Inkling is one of my personal favorites.
I’m especially proud of the white and orange trims.

Anthopleura sola WIP

Today’s post is a sneak peek of my latest needle felting project: Anthopleura sola, the Starburst anemone.

These are one of the most gorgeous sights you’ll see as you walk along the tide pools of the California coast, with their jewel-like tentacles dancing in the currents. You can spot this particular species by the stripes radiating out from the center in a luminous “burst.” Here is a photo I took on one of my excursions to the tide pools:

FitzgeraldAnemone
Anemone at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

And more photos of these magnificent life forms:

 

I want the felted Anthopleura sola to be life-sized with a diameter of about 150 cm. I’m pushing myself to work larger which allows me to get in more details.

 

 

AnemoneWIP_web
Here you can see I’m experimenting with different colors and seeing how they come together. I had to blend a few different colors together to find what I wanted. I blend the wool by carding it between two combs.

AnemoneWIP3_web
I found the colors that I liked and put in the delicate “burst” pattern.

AnemoneWIP4_web
Starting to put in the tentacles!

I loved poking these creatures when I was a kid and watching their tentacles retract, and then poking them again and seeing the water gush out. It was so exciting! I doubt they enjoyed it very much, however, and I no longer practice this harassment. But I still adore watching these beauties in their shallow pools.