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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

No Calorie Birthday Cakes made with Gallery Glass

Everyone celebrates birthdays on a regular basis--their own big day, those of other family members--even the founding dates of organizations to which they belong. These celebrations can be a great opportunity to make a Gallery Glass panel that will be used over and over again. It also makes a good gift to give to the member of the family who usually PLANS the celebrations for everyone else (Mom or Grandma).
This year our favorite charity --Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite--is celebrating the end of their third wonderful year. Last year, I made a Gallery Glass sign to hang in their large floor to ceiling windows by the Craft Area--the site of their ongoing Gallery Glass painting sessions. The 24" x 36" panel is a good representation of their newly designed logo and it also serves as a silent salesman illustrating the admirable qualities of Gallery Glass paint. When the children see the sign, they want to paint. So the teachers asked for some leaded Birthday cake panels for the kids to paint at the party.
The party planners hoped to get a variety of projects--first, some small ones that can be done as an activity at the party. I happened to have several hundred heavy plexi "mounts" that are 4"x5" and approx. 1/4" thick. I thought it would be hard to drill a hole in them, but I found some clear plastic packaging "hang tabs" that have a hole in the top and strong adhesive on the bottom half. This is the perfect solution because the child can use a suction cup to display the cured project, or put a thin ribbon through the hole and hang the souvenir from the window latch or a doorknob. It shouldn't take people more than 10 minutes (average) to complete the project. The biggest challenge will be to find a place during the party for the projects to dry until the guest is ready to leave. A rolling rack of some kind should be available around the hospital. At home, try cans of food from the pantry and large pieces of cardboard for shelves. You can stack up several layers in a small space. The best thing about the small projects is that many of the attendees will have time to complete a cake during the 2 hr. party. The painting "chairs" will turn over fairly quickly.

The directors also asked for some larger projects that can be completed during the week before the party and painted by the patients to be hung around the Zone as decorations. I decided to make a new version of the larger cake that we did for last year's Second Birthday. It was easy to adapt the pattern by making a copy of it, then cutting the candles off both patterns and spacing them equidistant apart on top of the cake. You might think that the children will paint the cake the same color as the sample--you would be wrong! They paint them every color in the color wheel. That's what makes the brthday cake so much fun for kids--there is no wrong way to paint it.
I love how adaptable the cakes are for any birthday quantity. If the number is larger than 4, I would go to a "numbered candle" motif--with the flame coming out of the top--just like the real number candles that you can buy in the pastry or cake decorating department. This idea also adapts well for anniversaries, two numbers work well side-by-side, with flames coming out the top of both--10, 25, 50.
Last year, one of the directors got the idea that we should have a cake that everyone attending the celebration could sign or autograph. This is a good idea for a very special birthday or anniversary--even a retirement ceremony. It creates a keepsake for the recipient. I left the background clear so that it could be signed with a permanent marker and then displayed for years to come. You can put the clear over the signatures after the event--to seal them permanently.
The pattern for the cake with one candle is easy to adapt for "number" candles or multiple candles. The supply list will vary depending on what colors you are coordinating for the party. But I strongly suggest that you use a tape tip for leading the design. You can find detailed insructions on making the tape tip under the link called "Leading Tips" on the right side of the home page. The words on the top of the cake will be impossible to lead "open" if you don't use tape and solid black letters don't look as pretty.
Have fun with this one--remember the reason birthdays are so popular --is because everybody has one!

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