Last August, we hosted my second cousin, his wife and family for two nights while on their cross-country move from Alaska to Louisiana.
They came down and their little family took us all by storm. (I mean this in the best way possible, of course.) At the time, I had only spent a few hours with my cousin Kody over the past 30 years, and I hadn't yet met his wife Rachel, or their two boys. After getting them quickly settled and giving them a caffeine-fueled tour of the best our town has to offer, including a trip to Kara's Cupcakes to pick up the evening's desserts, we had a little mini-family reunion at our house. My sisters were there, all their kids, my mom and dad. It was simple and effortless, and so we just sat around in a big circle on patio chairs talking, just like our shared family members back in South Dakota might have done, middle of the last century.
Could I not have remembered to take some pictures?!
Anyway, I can't remember what I ended-up serving for dinner, beyond trying to keep it all local and fabulous for our Guam->AK->LA guests, of course. I do, however, remember what I did NOT serve - and that was a promised Orla Kiely inspired cake for Rachel, a woman who deserves to have someone bake her a cake for once.
Let me explain. Rachel is the incredibly talented cake designer/maker, and face of Fondant Flinger. Our entire California contingency had been following her work on Facebook for some time, despite having never actually met her. One day, she commented on this Facebook post of mine:
Now I realize you can't even see all my bags in this modified shot, but trust me - the whole ensemble was thoughtless and I couldn't help but laugh at myself. The point is Rachel loved my bags and because I knew she was coming, I told her I was going to make her a cake inspired by my Orla Kiely bag. I made a big, big promise.
If only I could stick to my word. If only I could have delivered. If only I could sign-up for *just enough* and not *too much*.
(Cue the trumpet)
And yet, she could not have cared less. She got it. She understood. She knew I was crazy to have made that promise. She knows what it's like to play with fondant. Little did I know, she was plotting something even more spectacular.
So despite all the gifts they gave to use on their departure - Salmonberry jelly, deer jerky, fresh smoked Alaskan salmon, as well as toys for the kids, she still, for some crazy reason I will never understand, thought that she needed to craft cupcake toppers that pay homage to one of my favorite designers, coordinate their debut on top of everyone's favorite cupcakes (Kara's), and have them delievered to our house on cold, rainy, fall night.
I actually saved one of the twelve cupcakes and am letting it dry out right now. I plan to shellac it and frame it in a shadow box on our picture wall!