Friday, April 29, 2022

Lightsaber Rainbows, Flying Duck Orchids, & The Best Cosplay Mashup Of All TIME

It's Friday, you fantastic beast! You made it.

Here come a bunch of my favorite finds this week to celebrate.

Did you know there are lightsaber meetups at Disney's Galaxy's Edge? I didn't! There was one last month, and look how pretty:

 The group that arranges the meetups is Galaxy's Edge Discord, here's a photo from their IG account:


This is all fan-run, so give them a follow for future meetup dates.


Also in the Stuff-I-Never-Knew-Existed category, this is called a flying duck orchid:

(Photo by Heiner Cuno)

They're native to Australia and are teeny-tiny, with blooms less than an inch long. You should also know I'm imagining a little purple bandana around one and humming the Darkwing Duck theme song.

Speaking of old cartoons, let's see if anyone else gets a kick out of watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles dance-fight their way down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom:

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Winnie-The-Pooh Baby Shower: Full Photo Tour & The Winning Games!

Happy Tuesday, Pooh bears and poo bearers! (ew)

It's done.


Can I get a "woot woot"?

And at the risk of over-saturating you with party content, I'm back with final photos from the Winnie-the-Pooh baby shower we threw for a family friend. I've got the finished install, some fun group photos, and I'll even tell you about the games we played, which were a big hit.

John and I set up at our friends' house the night before. Here's the backdrop before we added the balloons:

Again, this is all made of pink foam insulation, click here if you missed the build post.

Adding the balloon garlands:

We used this kit from Amazon, which comes with everything you need except the pump.

The balloons shrunk a little overnight, so if you do the same you might over-inflate them a tiny bit to compensate.


Here it is the day of, with a growing gift pile that matches oh-so-nicely:

All these shades of blue with little pops of gold/yellow is so soothing, right? Ahhh.

Let's compare that to John's original mockup in Photoshop:

Hey. Pretty bang on!

And finally, here's the gorgeous mom-to-be posing in front:

Eeeeeeee so pretty!

This is Lydia, everyone say hey. I'm so happy to finally introduce y'all.

I'll have more guest pics in a sec, keep scrolling.

In the dining room we slid the table up against the wall to make a buffet display:

Friday, April 22, 2022

READY OAR NOT: Our Next Party Theme Revealed!

Happy Friday, Skippers!

You've been telling me how much you miss the ridiculous holiday parties John and I used to throw pre-Covid, and believe me, so do we. So much that we decided we just couldn't wait for December to roll around again, and are planning a party in two weeks for my birthday. (Eep!)

May is already hectic with MegaCon and whatnot, and we only gave ourselves about a month to plan, AND we're throwing an elaborate baby shower this weekend that's taken most of our spare time 'til now... but are we going to let that stop us?


Here's the deal: I like puns. Big puns, little puns, really really bad puns: just... gimmie.

My idea, therefore, was to throw a pun party like the ones you've probably seen floating around TikTok. (If not, go see, they're great.) Those are all costume-based, though, and we needed a theme for decorations. It's not a Yates party 'til we build something as ridiculous as it is large, right?

I was stumped for the better part of a week, until Katie over on FoE asked for help with the menu for... drumroll, please... her niece's Jungle Cruise party.

(art by Mini Pandas)

It was a light bulb moment, gang.

I was a Jungle Cruise skipper back in college; it's actually where my love of puns began. So not only is this the perfect birthday theme, I can't believe I didn't think of it first. C'mon, me. Get it together. And thank you, Katie and Katie's niece.Your contribution rocks, and will not be taken for granite.

After smashing the two themes together, there we had it, skips: A Jungle Cruise Pun Party.

Start brainstorming now, because I'm going to ask for your most excruciating puns at the end of this post: costume puns, food puns, game puns, visual gags, you name it.

But first!

Want to see what we've built so far?

Please say yes.

I'm... going to assume you said yes.

Our very first project was a sign for the front door. All of our parties have had foam signs (remember the Bog of Eternal Stench?), which we usually keep and display afterward as party mementos. Not to brag, but this is definitely my favorite one so far:

I love how the textures turned out! You'd think this was made of wood, right? Ahhhh I love aging things.

Here's how it started:

This design isn't an exact copy from the parks; instead I asked John to layer the center part of this sign in Disneyland over a ship's wheel:

Once John photoshopped a mock-up, we projected, traced, and cut it out of pink insulation foam.

Stick around and I'll convince you to craft with pink foam eventually.

That's John adding another detail layer with craft foam.

I sanded the edges to round them slightly, then got to the fun part: painting.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Winnie-The-Pooh Party Favors: Free Templates & Cut Files!

Happy Tuesday, Heffalumps and sugar lumps! I'm back with more from the Pooh baby shower John and I are planning for a friend, so if you missed our backdrop builds earlier, go see. They're pretty rad.

Today, we're talking party favors. I have two options for you: a traditional favor box with a matching earring holder, and some sweet floral headbands I made for the guests to wear.

There are lots of great box templates out there, but John took it as a personal challenge to design his own from scratch. I'm planning to hang these on a small clothesline, so he made a purse style with a handle:

Here's the side view:

No glue required; the ribbon threads through the side pieces to hold it all together.

I know it looks tiny, but these are the perfect size for a tube of Burt's Bees lip balm and a few candies.

OR, you can do what we did, and use them to hold a pair of earrings.

These earrings:



We made the the card backers using our Cricut, and the earrings I purchased from Shein. Y'all, these earrings cost $1 per pair. This isn't sponsored and I can't vouch for quality, but I can tell you they look friggin' AMAZING for one dollar earrings. (See the tiny bees? SO CUTE.)

They look especially high-end on our backer cards, if I do brag on myself:

This next one was just a prototype, but white-on-white card stock looks kind of amazing, too:

Friday, April 15, 2022

The Needs Of The One

Hiya! Happy Friday.

I bring you a photo of Vincent Price in his most iconic role:

Grumpy Cat Carrier.


I also have a little encouragement for you.

Last week I was deep in my feels about the state of the world: that sad, helpless feeling you get when you watch the news and itch to DO SOMETHING, but what can one person do when so much is wrong?

Then I saw these Stories from one of my favorite internet peeps, Sharon McMahon.

I immediately screen-shotted those so I could read and re-read them. The main cause grieving my heart was the war, so I'd been donating, but now I asked myself, "If a Ukrainian refugee was here with me right now, what tangible thing would I do for them?"

"I'd paint their house," I thought. It's what I love to do, and it's what I'm skilled at.

"So who IS here right now, in need?"

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Organizing With ADHD: Book Review & My Top 5 Tips

Happy Tuesday, intrepid explorers of the interior realms!

(That's my new name for people cleaning out their closets.)

So I don't have ADHD, but most of my friends I help with organizing do. Organizing is a passion of mine, so for years I've barreled through various friends' homes, trying to make the systems I use work for them. And for years, far too often, I've watched those systems fail.

Listen, I love a good mess. The bigger the piles in the smaller the space, the more excited I get. Even so, I reached a string of projects where nothing I did seemed to be working anymore. My neatly labeled containers were quickly buried in mountains of clutter. I'd leave a space pristine, only to come back and find empty counters filled again, neatly hung clothing strewn in piles, stacks of bins unstacked and scattered ... in short, my organizing efforts felt like a band-aid on a tidal wave. I knew I was doing something wrong, but what?

Then I realized the one common denominator: everyone I was working for at the time had ADHD. A-ha! And since ADHD brains see and process things differently, it makes sense that they organize differently, too.

So I got to work. I did as much online research as I could, but quickly became frustrated. So many click-bait videos and articles, so little help.

Then I went old-school, and bought an actual book. This book:

Organizing Solutions For People With ADHD

It has rave reviews and multiple re-prints, so I was beyond excited to inhale the whole thing. Finally. Answers!

Within a few pages I realized this book is for people with ADHD, not for people trying to help people with ADHD. The advice it gives is brutal and matter-of-fact, with zero allowance for things like mental health, retail therapy, collections, etc. And because it's not aimed at the helpers, it also doesn't give any advice on how to start conversations about, say, purging. It just tells you to purge.

In fact the #1 tool in author Susan Pinsky's arsenal is purging. In many cases it is the only tool she offers, instructing the reader to purge as much as 80% of a given space. Listen, if you only have 4 pots in an entire kitchen cabinet, then you don't need an organizing strategy:
... which of course is her whole point.

 The book is filled with before-and-afters, each one with the "inventory" reduced to comically Spartan levels:

C'mon. No one is going to do this.

[Correction: from the comments I've learned some people DO do this, and love it. So don't let my disbelief stop you!]

With that said - and admitting I argued OUT LOUD with this book in every single chapter - Organizing Solutions did open my eyes to what I was doing wrong. It clearly explains why and how organizing is difficult for people with ADHD, and that perspective shift alone was worth the price.

With this new understanding came a whole new way of looking at organizing. Now I see why my methods won't work for an ADHD brain. I don't have all the solutions yet, but at least I can see the puzzle more clearly.

And with that loooong intro, let me share my 5 Top Take-Aways from Organizing Solutions For People With ADHD.

First, the easiest and most effective tip you can implement in 2 seconds:

Friday, April 8, 2022

How To Make An Epic Photo Backdrop With Pink Foam Board

I've been holding out on you, piglets and pooh bears.

After a too-long hiatus in our hobby of throwing ridiculously elaborate parties, John and I've taken on planning not one but TWO parties over the next two months: a birthday party for me (WOOT), and a baby shower for a friend.

The shower is for the sister of one of my oldest and dearest friends, so she's basically family. When she became pregnant with her first child, she said if she could ever have a baby shower, she'd want John and I to plan it.

So of COURSE we're doing this party.

The mom-to-be has had a rough time the last several years, and now a high-risk pregnancy with multiple hospital visits already, so I've decided her shower is going to be an Event. (It's the one thing I can control, you know?) Besides, after our initial consult she told us to "surprise her," so I get to go hog wild. And it's Winnie-the-Pooh themed. Whee!

(Let's spare a moment of pity for John, who I've had running ragged on the build end, ha.)

Our biggest build for the party is the photo backdrop, so I want to show y'all how we did it, what we used, and give you some guidelines for making your own.

After many hours of research, rage-quitting, rage-re-starting, and banging my head against the virtual Pinterest Board wall, I threw enough ideas John's way for him to cobble together this mock-up in Photoshop:

Ideally you want your backdrop to be a focal point on its own while still leaving room for people to stand or sit in front of it. In our case the mom-to-be's chair will be in front while she opens presents, then the chair can be taken away afterward for group photos. (Check Pinterest if you need ideas; you'll find way too many.)

Most party backdrops are made with curtains on stands or fake greenery panels, but I'm here to sing the praises of pink foam board insulation, my crafty friends. Pink foam is feather-light, not-too-pricey, and easy to cut, sand, & paint. In our case it also helped that we had a whole bunch of scraps already in the garage.

We started with the smaller 3D elements. First we projected:


...cut with a jigsaw, and sanded the edges to round them slightly:

Next I painted them with craft paint:

And finally I added the details and outline. The sanded edges gave me a good guide for this:


(I made this sound fast, but really I worked on it over 3 nights.)

We repeated that for the balloon and second Pooh cut-out:

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Cartoon Shoes, Alien TP, & The Cutest Mini Moon Knight

Happy Tuesday, adventurers! I come bearing treasure from the distant wilds of the spidery inter-webs.

Also this photo of a yard here in Florida:

(pic by Sherry K, friend of a FoE.)

Just 'cuz.

Starting with the latest custom kicks by the queen of cell-shading herself, Ginoza Costuming:

These are themed to the new Borderlands video game Tiny Tina's Wonderlands, which I can't wait to play with John. 

Even if you're not a fan of the game, though, who wouldn't want cartoon shoes? Here are more Brittani's painted:

You can see more - including Brittani's internationally acclaimed cosplay - at the Ginoza Costuming Facebook page. (Srsly, prepare to have your jaw drop. This woman's got SKILLS.)


Because I'm a sucker for all things glowy and colorful, I bring you the creations of Fiore Di Luce, or Flowers of Light, in Milano, Italy:

My Google Translate isn't working, but I believe these are all handmade by a single couple, Elisabetta & Pier. From the process photos the lamps look like a form of paper fiber stretched over individual wire frames. Amazing.

Their lamps and pendant lights come in all sorts of fantastical floral designs, plus there are a few with butterfly wings:

Friday, April 1, 2022

STORY TIME: How My Brilliant April Fool's Joke Went Horribly, Hilarious Wrong

I post here on Tuesdays and Fridays, so when I mentioned to John that this Friday was April Fool's day, his eyes lit up.

"You should tell the Cake Wrecks story," he said.

"What?" I asked, horrified. "Why?"

"It's funny!"

"It absolutely is not."

"Sure it is! Tell them how it was so good, we fooled everyone."

"Yeah, and they hated us for it."

"Well, yes, but you can say it's how an April Fool's joke goes hilariously, horribly wrong."

"It's 'horribly, hilariously wrong' and you've been running this website for almost 15 years. I feel like you should know the tagline."



:: 2 hours later::

Me, in front of the computer:

We've spent six years pretending this didn't happen, but sure.

We'd never attempted a real April Fool's joke before on Cake Wrecks, because people had a hard enough time believing most of the wrecks weren't pranks. Instead I usually featured illusion food for April 1st, like grilled cheese sandwiches that were really toasted pound cake:

Or "cakes" made of meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

Those were fine, but a bit boring after a few years. I wanted to try something new.

If you're a looooong time reader of Cake Wrecks, then you know I have an occasionally wicked sense of humor. So for some reason back in 2016 - probably spurred on by ThinkGeek's always amazing fake product debuts, RIP -  I decided to rock the metaphorical boat. I wanted to legitimately fool people, in a funny, "gotcha!" sort of way.

Then I got an idea. An awful idea. I got a wonderful, awful idea.