14 June 2009
Holden + Totoro
I love the innocent, wide-eyed stare of Totoro and the dust bunnies.
Holden's 2nd birthday (in January, I sheepishly admit) theme was My Neighbor Totoro! The theme was lost on most attendees, but it was poignant and nostalgic to those who were cognizant of the endearing Miyazake film. We rented the English-dubbed movie from the library, invited family and friends small and big, and feasted on my mom's drool-worthy Korean food all day long.
The night before, I baked two sheets of yellow cake (I heart Betty Crocker), mixed the perfect shade of gray, and attempted to refrain from consuming all the leftover chunks of freshly-baked goodness. After googling, I found a large enough line drawing of Totoro to utilize as a close-enough pattern. The backside of white chocolate drops (used for melting and creating confections) would create a smooth plain for the whites of the eyes, and two brown m&ms, adhered with dollops of frosting, completed the peepers. Instead of a piped frosting crescent, I had wanted a three dimensional nose. After much consternation at the candy aisle, I triumphantly grabbed a box of Junior Mints. Halving one became the perfect diminutive snout.
Two cakes were necessary because a gaggle of my friends were coming pretty late and I wanted them to experience the candle-blowing (more accurately, dousing-candles-with-spit) as well; it wasn't too difficult to create one after another. Plus, I think it's a magical indulgence for every child to have two candle-laden cakes for their birthdays. One for brunch, and one for dinner. I quite adore the idea of Mad Hatter unbirthdays. Or even half-birthday parties! Any excuse for cake and celebrating childhood.
For the soot sprites, I baked chocolate cupcakes (note to self: never add just egg yolks when the recipe calls for whole eggs - I somehow had remaining yolks and mistakenly thought it'd suffice) and dipped the frosting-ed goodies into a bowl of black sanding sugar. The already sorted brown plain m&ms were again placed on the background of the upturned white chocolate drops to create the characteristic eyes.
(On a side note: I futilely tried to create sprout umbrellas to embellish the cupcakes out of sour apple tape and straws. Bright side: failure tasted delicious!)
A stack of party favor flannel pillows bearing the first initial of small guests. My sister cut out the letters (Futura Bold) from heathered oatmeal felt, and I running-stitiched them on with contrasting embroidery thread. I was exuberant to use my stash of hoarded fabric. As much as I enjoy augmenting my menagerie of inspirational textiles, I derive joy from the depletion; the eventual metamorphosis into a hand-crafted gift.