Friday, May 20, 2011

Writing, Baking, and Gardening, oh my!

I thought I'd do something a little different today for my blog post. I'm sure everyone gets tired of the same old excerpt posts. Today I want to share a little about me and all the crazy hobbies I get myself into.

Obviously, writing is one of the things I thoroughly enjoy. I have several books available with Amber Quill Press, and several more in the works. Now if I could only find the time to actually write...  Of course, maybe if I'd stop finding new hobbies, I might have more time to write! haha.

From a mental health perspective, I'd say hobbies are a good thing--granted they don't break the bank. I'd say, out of all the hobbies I have, writing would probably cost me the least, and provides a little bit of extra income. To spend on other hobbies! *grin*

When I got married in 2009, I wanted to do some things to help save a little bit of money. Being the crafty person I am, I made pretty much all the decorations, the invitations, etc. Even though I'm a pretty good seamstress, I refused to sew my own dress (did that once, but that's another story). Anyhow, I got the bright idea to do my own cake. Now, I'd made some simple cakes before using buttercream and a star-tip to fill in the shapes, but I'd never tackled a wedding cake or fondant, or roses, or anything to that extreme. Needless to say, after several Wilton classes at my local Hobby Lobby, and about a gazillion dollars in cake making supplies (okay, maybe not a gazillion, but close!), I did manage to bake and decorate my own 3 tiered wedding cake, covered in homemade marshmallow fondant, and decorated with gumpaste roses dusted with shimmering luster dust.

From Thursday to Sunday, I got about 3 hours total of sleep. My husband (who was a tremendous help) and I finally pooped out about 6 pm our first night in Jamaica. Here's a pic of the final product:
Despite the lack of sleep, and the nerve-wracking wonder if it was going to turn out or not, I was pleased with the result. My backup plan, should it have gone to crap--since you can't exactly get a wedding cake last minute--was a couple of ice-cream cakes from Dairy Queen stacked on top of each other. I think my hubby would have liked them much better.

While I haven't tackled another wedding cake, and am a little leary about making cakes for other people's special occassions, I do still do cake decorating, mainly for family and close friends.

Recently, I've embarked upon another hobby. Gardening. Yes, I'm wondering the same thing. Gardening? I haven't had a garden in over 15 years!!! And then, I pretty much remember staking out a plot in my yard, turning the dirt over a bit, tossing in some seeds and hoping for the best. All I remember is lots and lots of zucchini.

I guess it all started with our vinyl fence. Our old wooden fence had gotten so dilapidated that I was certain a strong wind would knock it down. Then my dog would run free and probably eat one of the neighbors and I'd get sued. Seriously, I have a chow chow. She's not nice. I don't think she even likes me. Anyhow, a significant portion of our tax returns went to replacing our old fence with a bright, new, white vinyl fence. I swear, this sucker is so stark it's blinding.

I'd always played with the idea of building some raised garden boxes on the side of my deck out back. You know, one of those areas you have in your yard that seems like it's going to waste. So I told my hubby, I'd like to build some boxes this year, since we're putting up a new fence, lets do some work on the back yard, too. At first, I was just going to have him build me some raised boxes out of landscape timber, but then I got on You Tube...Anyone else get in trouble on there? I do. Way too many ideas for someone like me. I'm like one of those horses that needs blinders.

So I get on You Tube, looking up raised garden bed construction, and I come across a video for making boxes out of vinyl fencing. Oh My God! I loved it. They were so pretty--if you could consider garden boxes as such. So of course, since we'd just put up an expensive white vinyl fence and these darlings would look lovely against it, I told my husband that's what I want. Five boxes and about $500 later, I got my raised garden.

Now I'm off to study Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. Oh, and by the way, I did do a little writing today. *wink*

I'd love to hear about some of your hobby stories if you'd be willing to share. And if you'd still like an excerpt or two, there's several on my website to choose from.

Shannon Leigh


Julie Lynn Hayes said...

Wow, Shannon, that cake is beautiful. You did an awesome job!

Outside of writing, I guess my hobbies would be cross stitch and needlepoint and knitting and crocheting, but I find I don't have time to indulge them often. I'm in the middle of a cross stitch project - I'm stitching a reproduction of the painting The Scream in cross stitch, it's intended for a friend's miniature doll house so it's pretty small.

Can reviewing be considered a hobby? I do that too - books, movies and manga lol And working at conventions.

In July, I'm working at a 24 Hours of Potter convention, and next March I'll be working KawaKon, for the third time - it's an anime/Japanese culture convention. I also work BishieCon, which is a yaoi convention.

Great blog, very interesting!

Janice said...

Love the cake, it's lovely.

Your raised bed look very nice against the bright shinny new fence. I do a little gardening myself, but I've had to shorten my garden by half. I just can't keep up with it anymore. *Sigh*


Carolina Valdez said...

Absolutely loved the cake! Kudos to you. And the idea of the raised bed gardening has a lot of appeal. You don't have to bend over as much, and I have a back problem.

Carolina Valdez