The Devil is in the Details, AKA Bubba turns two! | This WONDERfilled Life

WOW, I feel like it’s been like a month since I’ve sat down and written anything.  I have currently at least four posts (including this one) written in my head but just haven’t found the time to get them onto the computer! But today is day 95 of heavy rain and after a really fun performance last night (another blog coming) I decided to not take the kiddos to their class this morning and we are enjoying watching the chaos from our dry, warm living room, snuggled on the couch and still in our jammies. 

Last weekend was Bubba’s SECOND birthday! He’s two! Oh my heart.  He’s really developing quite the personality.  His vocabulary is expanding every day and watching him play with his toys instead of chewing on them is really fun to see.  Despite the large party we had for P last fall we actually DON’T have yearly birthday parties for our kids – those events are saved for big b-days like 5, 10 and 16 -  if you missed our Coco – Land of the Dead party and everything I made for it you can check out the “round up” blog HERE.  Now, having said that…we DO usually try and do some sort of theme for the kids.  It’s usually been just P’s favorite Princess movie as a theme for the cake and maybe a gift…and that has totally worked for her, but Bubba has been a little different.  The only thing he really has shown an affinity for (until very recently) is his stuffed bunny Jessie that he got for Easter last year.  So, when I started thinking about what to do for his cake I was kind of at loss.  Then we remembered his love for the “LittleBlue Truck” (LBT).  If you haven’t read these books check them out! We stumbled across them when P picked one out for Bubba from Costco.  Bubba doesn’t say car or truck, instead, he opts for the sound they make so he makes the “beep beep” sound whenever he sees anything with wheels.  (He also refuses to say “puppy”, instead preferring to pant like a dog.) Originally, I thought I’d try my hand at home made fondant and make a flat LBT and friends, to either lay on the cake or stand up, but then my calendar started to fill up and I abandoned that idea.  Then I thought I could use my Cameo to trace LBT and friends and make an intricate cake topper…which I could have done, but then inspiration struck and I thought I could make a 3D truck! … and down the rabbit hole I went.

I bought two 3D truck files through the Silhouette store.  The first was from Lori Whitlock. I find her cards/crafts to be well thought out and easy to put together.  I liked the simplicity of the truck, but it wasn’t designed to be a model, but a card, and I would have to had make some changes to make it work for what I wanted (like fill in the hood etc.).  From the side it was perfect but head on it would look weird. 

Then I saw the Truck 3D Classic Model by Snapdragon Snippets and thought it was PERFECT, downloaded the file, opened it up and just about had a heart attack.  There’s probably close to 30+ pieces to the model, and the final size this file was designed for was 11.75” (long including the bumper), 6” tall and 5.35” wide…this was much to big for the little 9” cake I had planned to bake…so I was stumped and as I so often find myself doing, I put the project off to sit and mull over my options until I was literally almost out of time! I decided there was no time like the present to try something so detailed and opted for the harder, more detailed Snapdragon truck.  Thankfully they have a blog post with detailed instructions on how to put all the pieces together. 

I still had to think about the size though.  I wanted to make the truck about 30% smaller but I couldn’t do that easily in Silhouette Studio (I could have in Illustrator but I had already procrastinated enough) so I opted to select all the pieces and reduce them by 50%, making the truck about 6” long, 3” tall and a little over 3” wide.  The perfect size for the cake, but as it turns out not the perfect size to make your first paper model car! I realized when trying to fold and glue the tabs in place that the smaller the car, the smaller the tabs which meant that gluing many of the tabs down simply didn’t happen because there wasn’t enough tab to go thru the slots and bend over with enough surface area to even apply glue.  I have no doubt if I had made the original size this wouldn’t have been an issue.  If I were to do this again I would take the time to “edit” the tab points and have them extend out more for this fact alone.  I also expanded the slots by working the ends of my tweezers through each slot before I tried to join them with the tabs.  So, take my advice and think about these things if you ever decide to make something smaller than what it was designed for!!

It took me a few hours to cut everything and assemble.  I worked my way through the directions and jumped ahead to glue things when I could so it would be dry by the time I needed it.  I used my clover clips to hold the small pieces together while I worked on other parts.

When it came to Blue’s eyes I was sort of torn on what to do.  I had originally thought I’d just draw on two black dots using sharpies…but they tend to bleed (look at my street sign).  So I’m looking around my mess of a craft area and see sequins…remember my sequin project from a few weeks ago?? I thought PERFECT…and they were…a little glue and just the right placement and suddenly I didn’t have a model truck, I had THE Little Blue Truck. 

I almost lazed out and didn’t cut the super tiny, sliver of door and tail bed handles but once I finished the truck I knew they were missing and it just looked unfinished.  So I loaded a one inch square bit of silver/gray paper in my machine and cut the tiniest little door handles you ever saw…and after I glued them on I realized that “the Devil is indeed in the details…” and all those little nuanced pieces make a project complete. 

"The devil is in the detail" is an idiom that refers to a catch or mysterious element hidden in the details,[1] meaning that something might seem simple at a first look but will take more time and effort to complete than expected [2] and derives from the earlier phrase, "God is in the detail" expressing the idea that whatever one does should be done thoroughly; i.e. details are important.[1]

Now that Blue was done I had to just make a few minor changes to a downloaded toad file, I added circles to his back to make him more toad like and I sized him down small enough that he could actually fit in the truck.  Scale is everything in things like this and I love using my design programs to try out everything before I cut.  I also learned from putting Blue together that cutting and gluing several layers together make for a very sturdy product so I added a few layers to the balloons and our friend Toad.  I picked up some random, clear, flat "sticks" in the basement of the Chicago Textile Outlet last time I went and they were the PERFECT thing to attach to my Toad friend and balloons to.  For the sign I opted for a wood skewer stick that I "painted" black with a black sharpie (don't worry I wrapped the part that went in the cake in plastic).  All in all the toppers turned out super cute and Bubba flipped out every time he caught a glimpse.

Am I crazy for spending so much time on a cake topper for a two-year-old? Maybe…but his face lit up when he saw it and I have it set aside for him to have as a keepsake (if he wants) when he’s older.  But the reminder of “anything worth doing… is worth doing right” was worth all the cuss words and glued finger tips – HA!

For the cake I made a chocolate box mix and a double batch of vanilla buttercream frosting, which I dyed green for the grass.  

I am no master baker but I have learned recently (through my own trial and error) that the key to buttercream is to make more than you think you need (you can always eat the leftovers with graham crackers) and to whip the living snot out of think you're done and it's all mixed and looking good? WRONG...set that mixer to go another 5 minutes.

I crumb coated the cakes (this is just a fancy way of saying I put a base coat of sugary goodness on them). And then let it set up while I tackled the next part. 

I took some parchment paper (so it wouldn't stick to the icing) and traced around my cake pan and then drew my dirt road, using the model truck for scale.

I went back and forth on whether the road should turn or not...really...I choose to curve it a bit and then cut out the road, leaving me with two half crescent shapes.  I used these non-road shapes to cover the parts of the cake where I didn't want the road and then called in P to help smash the living day lights out of an innocent bag of Oreos.

After we got the Oreos nice and crumbly (actually we were both tired of hitting the bag and rolling it over and over with the rolling pin) we added the dirt to the road. 

Once the cookie pieces were in place I lightly pressed them into the crumb coat of icing, pulled up my parchment slices and got to work adding my buttercream grass.  Pretty easy, just long drops of green icing willy nilly and viola!

I was worried about adding everything to the cake but it all went in pretty smoothly!

My only real disappointment was that the sharpie bled on the "Happy Birthday" road win some and lose some! I also realized as we brought the cake to Bubba to blow out his candle that all paper cake toppers may not have been the best decision for a TWO year old's know FIRE and all...but we survived!

So happy birthday sweet boy! I hope someday you will treasure this little work of art.

Bubba with his card P made him.  The whole family, complete with cake and fireworks!

It must have tasted okay...Bubba wouldn't open his eyes while shoveling it in his mouth!


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