Take a Hike – How I Made a Sloped Birthday Cake

Turns out I had to come up with my own plan for this hiking theme cake. I searched and searched for ideas. I have some on my Hiking Party Board, but nothing was going to work with the time available and I didn’t need 30 people worth of cake. In addition to that, I made a camping theme cake several years ago for the same kid, so I wanted it to be different. (aka no tents)

Hiking Trail Cake -- Easy Hiking Theme Birthday on a Budget

As I mentioned earlier this week, the end of July we spent with our oldest daughter in the hospital, leaving very little time for preparing for this birthday. I made the cake (from a box mix) the night before, but I set the temperature wrong and it turned out dry. This set me behind. Usually I freeze the cakes before assembling and frosting them, but after our birthday breakfast we made a new cake (thankfully we had a back up box of cake mix!) and set it to cool on the counter.

First of all, I baked the cake with these even-bake strips from Wilton. They help the cake to rise more evenly. After lunch I was ready to begin frosting the cake. I leveled my cake layers like this (a great video about leveling and frosting cake layers.) I set the tops off to the side to be used later (I had to guard them well as there were several children floating around looking for scraps. )

Frosting the layers was little trickier since they weren’t frozen, but it worked. I did something different for me this time and used a piping bag to pipe the frosting between the layers. (Here is another great video about frosting cakes.) Piping it on helped greatly since the cake wasn’t frozen and was apt to fall apart as I spread. I’m still not great at all the techniques of cake decorating, but I’m having fun learning with each new birthday. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Layers

[Ack! There are no pictures of the process. Time was short and I was working as fast as I could to get done in time for an early dinner and celebration. But I’ve drawn pictures for you… I hope they help!]

One of the cakes was falling apart on one side (whether this happened coming out of the pan or with the help of one of my smaller children is undecided). It worked out though, because I used that spot, after the second layer was on, to cut and shape a slope out of that layer down to toward the first layer(see diagram… these are not to scale!!).

Then I frosted only part of the top in a semi-circular way. Then I placed one of the cake tops (saved from before) on top of the frosting and trimmed away the cake that went over the side.

I then added frosting to that layer and repeated with the second cake top saved from before, but I offset it even further (see diagram… still not to scale!!). Then I trimmed away the rest of the cake top and handed out scraps to the hovering children.

This is what it looked like from the side when all the layers were ready.

I then applied the crumb coat and stuck it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes to harden so that I could finish the decorations (and make more frosting.)

Hiking Trail Cake -- Easy Hiking Theme Birthday on a Budget

I frosted the whole thing with a light green buttercream frosting I made from scratch.

the Creek

On top of that I used blue cookie frosting we already had on hand. I don’t recommend this particular icing, though, because it took a long time to set and ended up sagging down the slope after the pictures were taken. I can already tell in this photo that it had begun. I picked a random place on the cake for the creek and worked a line across the cake and down to the cake plate. Then I just did that several more times to make it thicker . The lines of it melded together nicely.

Hiking Trail Cake -- Easy Hiking Theme Birthday on a Budget

The Path

I mixed in some white buttercream with chocolate frosting I had in the freezer, left over from another birthday, and it made for a nice “path” color. I piped that onto the cake, making sure to cross the creek, and ended it in a larger area at the top. The kids decided that the picnic tables would go there (the imaginary ones). ๐Ÿ™‚ My oldest son figured out how to cut a pretzel so that we could use it for the bridge. Good luck with that, mine kept breaking! ๐Ÿ™‚

How I made a Sloped Cake for a Hiking Themed Birthday

The trees

For the trees on the cake I used left over Cupcake Icing we had from another birthday and used the star tip that came with it. I don’t know what color it was because I used the last of it and threw it away, but it was super handy for a quick decorating job. You could do the same thing, though, by making your own frosting and using a star tip. It worked a lot like “spray cheese.” I made both the trees on top of the cake and the ones on the tall side of the cake. Then I put “bushes” around the cake on both sides of the creek until I ran out. The trunks on the back trees are the chocolate frosting I had kept back before adding the buttercream to make the lighter brown for the path.

How I made a Sloped Cake for a Hiking Themed Birthday

A few hints on tree placement:

1. I put several “trees/bushes” close together at the start of the creek to give the illusion that it started there in a hidden spring under the trees.
2. I put a tree in the crook of the path to give a reason for the sharp bend in the path.
3. I put several trees at the top around the “eating area” of “path” frosting to mimic a shady picnic area.

Do you have an event coming up that could use a sloped mountain or hiking cake?? Pin it for later. ๐Ÿ™‚

Pin it Button from mamasbrush
How I made a Sloped Cake for a Hiking Themed Birthday

Gathering here.

Recommended Reading:

Easy Hiking Birthday Theme on a Budget
Mountain Rice Krispies Treats
Birch Log Pretzels
Get Away to the Mountains Simple Watercolor Painting

Cozy Mountain Lodge Women’s Retreat Wrap Up

Cozy Mountain Lodge Women's Retreat Wrap Up

This past weekend was our church’s Cozy Mountain Lodge Women’s Retreat. We were at a new venue, which turned out just right. It was in the mountains, we were in a lodge of sorts, and once we were done with set up, it was decidedly cozy!

Decorating - Cozy Mountain Lodge Women's Retreat Wrap Up
Pre-cut fabric squares strung up with mini clothes pins were a cute and colorful addition to our mantle. The fabric was an adorable cabin in the mountains theme. Sorry, I don’t remember what it was called.

Unfortunately, though I promised myself I wouldn’t let this happen, I got so busy that I forgot to stop and take pictures of everything. These are the few there are. ๐Ÿ™‚

Lit Tree and Snow Blocks on the Piano - Cozy Mountain Lodge Women's Retreat Wrap Up
White lights added a whimsical touch. Since we used the lights and trees the church already had, it was also a huge budget helper!

When I put away my winter decor at the end of January, I put a number of pieces into our retreat box. The snow blocks, wooden trees and the jar of “snowballs” were some of the ones from my kitchen. And since the mountainside out our windows were covered with snow, it was perfect!

Centerpieces - Cozy Mountain Lodge Women's Retreat Wrap Up

The centerpieces were simple. One of the families in our church had a baby shower this past fall with a woodland animals theme. I was able to use the same tree trunk slabs they had made for that (another budget saver!) Baby’s Breath flowers in Ball jars with rocks were inexpensive and gave a lot of bang for their buck. The little birds in nests were in our decor closet at church as well. That was an exciting find. And for the tables, we used Kraft paper. Simple, less expensive than cloth, and more durable than plastic. Plus it had that rustic quality I was looking for.

Centerpiece - Cozy Mountain Lodge Women's Retreat Wrap Up

The framed cabin print was one of the ones I painted (now available in my shop). All 7 of the tables had one and they were given as prizes as part of the “door prize drawing”. Each person got something. When it came to these prints, they were allowed to choose between one of those or one of the remaining prizes that I hadn’t painted myself. That way ladies who wouldn’t have a use for the artwork, had a choice to opt out. ๐Ÿ™‚ I was super excited to see most of them taken.

The food table we set out in the evenings was more elaborate than these pics let on, yet still simple. Not only had I brought the Birch Tree Pretzels and Mountain Rice Krispies Treats, but also some veggies and dip, chips, pretzels and popcorn. And other ladies brought things to share also. No one ever had cause to be hungry! ๐Ÿ™‚ And my kids were thrilled with some left overs!

DIY Chocolate Wrappers - Cozy Mountain Lodge Woman's Retreat

The custom chocolates I left on everyone’s pillows (read that post here) were a big hit too. And even though I had a ton to do, I disappeared to put them out myself. I’m so glad I did! I didn’t want anyone to know they were coming (even the other helpers) and I wanted a chance to pray a few words for each of the ladies who came.

The remaining artwork I created for the retreat (available here) was framed and left around the room in cozy places where the ladies sat to visit, read their Bibles, or crochet. Sorry there aren’t any pics of that. Each one has it’s own post: Get Away, Get Going, Get Cozy, and {God’s Got this} Let the Adventure Begin.

God's Got This - Hand Lettered Artwork - Joshua 1:9

Are you planning a mountain themed retreat? I’d love to hear about your plans! Share some of them in the comments for others to enjoy!

Gathering here.

Custom Chocolate Wrappers – Cozy Mountain Lodge Woman’s Retreat

When I invited myself onto the committee for last year’s women’s retreat, I really wanted chocolates on everyone’s pillow. Alas, we were in a hotel and, though there was plenty of chocolate at the Hershey Lodge and even in the rooms, I didn’t get to be a part of it. This year will be different!

DIY Chocolate Wrappers - Cozy Mountain Lodge Woman's Retreat

For this year’s retreat, we are at a retreat center in the mountains and I’m so excited. The space is homier and easier to decorate than a hotel conference room, we can bring our own food in, and I have access to all those lovely pillows before the ladies arrive! I’m so excited!

DIY Chocolate Wrappers - Cozy Mountain Lodge Woman's Retreat

So earlier this week I made up these cute custom chocolate wrappers for the Hershey’s Minitures I bought. The wrappers are approximately 1.25 inches x 3 inches and I used tape to attach them. I used scrapbook paper, but anything would work.

Then I cut out a whole bunch of little papers and hand drew the labels. Yes, there was probably an easier way, but with my husband using the computer and my time constraints, it was actually faster to hand draw them. But I actually love the hand drawn look!! I used a glue stick to attach them to each chocolate after the candies had been wrapped with scrapbook paper.

DIY Chocolate Wrappers - Cozy Mountain Lodge Woman's Retreat

I’ll be sneaking into all the rooms during set up to place these on each lady’s pillow and saying a prayer for each one’s weekend.

So, now I have a question for you. The illustrations were super simple to do and many of you can probably figure out how I did them just by looking, but I’m curious… would anyone be interested in a video tutorial on how to do the simple illustrations I included on these labels? If there is enough interest, I will try to make time for it in the coming weeks.

Gathering here.

Get Away to the Mountains – Women’s Retreat Decor

Another in the line up of women’s retreat decor. I love the play on words that this one holds. It sound so rude, doesn’t it. Get Away! Like it’s being yelled. But then, too, it has the “get away to the mountains” feel to it. But my favorite is the verse at the bottom:

“Jesus went out to the mountain to pray.”
Luke 6:12

One of the things I am most looking forward to about this women’s retreat is the chance to “Get Away”. There are 6 little people at home with me all day, every day. And I love them. And I love that we are here every day together. But… I love a chance to get alone with God and spend some real, uninterrupted time with him.

And that is what I hope this piece reminds the ladies of. To take some time away from sessions and games and fellowship and just get away by themselves in much the same way that Jesus did here.

Updated 9/2023: This print is available “remastered” , customizable for your favorite Bible versions, in my shop! Come on over and have a look!

Gathering here.

Born for Adventure – Nursery Art

A couple months ago, my girls and I were blessed to attend a baby shower for a gal who grew up in our church. I asked the grandmother-to-be what the nursery theme was going to be for the coming baby boy and what she told me made me laugh. Apparently, it depended who you asked.

Mom-to-be said “outdoors”, dad-to-be said “airplanes”.

“But,” she continued, “the general consensus is ‘adventure’.”

Adventure I can do, I thought.

Before I designed my Born for Adventure Hot Air Balloons, I’d been working on the same idea with mountains. And trees. And a river that comes out from between them. Sound familiar?

Why, yes, that is exactly what the above painting looks like. I already had the sketch, I just finished it up, transferred it to watercolor paper, added the watercolor and the verse. And it was done!

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I found out about this shower 1 week before it. It was sure handy that I already had the design worked out, or I may not have had anything hand painted to bring. And that would have been super sad! ๐Ÿ™‚

Gathering here.

Cozy Mountain Lodge Art

God's Got This - Hand Lettered Artwork - Joshua 1:9

Last year I invited myself onto the women’s retreat planning committee and appointed myself the decorating coordinator. (Then I appointed my mom as my helper, but that is another story for another day.) Last year our theme was “Sweet Life Cafe” with all it’s sweets and coffee loveliness. I had fun painting and hand lettering all sorts of fun cafe themed artwork.

This year, the leadership for the retreat changed and it was even easier for me to force my way into the best committee role there is. I’m so glad that all the other ladies have adverse reactions the idea of decorating such an event. It works out in my favor!

God's Got This - Hand Lettered Artwork - Joshua 1:9

This year’s theme is Cozy Mountain Lodge from Group. Now that Christmas is over, I’ve officially begun working on it. This is the first of the artwork I have planned. I love taking something mainstream and tweaking it.

I’m picturing this on a food table or as part of the centerpiece. We’ll see when we get there.

Updated 9/2023: This print is available โ€œremasteredโ€ , customizable for your favorite Bible versions, in my shop! Come on over and have a look!

Gathering here.

Custom Christmas Tree Lot Paintings

This is the last Christmas project from 2016 that I’m going to share here.ย  And it’s my favorite.

IMG_0223

These are painted on 8×10 watercolor paper.ย  I custom design them based on the number of children.ย  I, of course, made myself one (not pictured here because my children’s names are on it, but just as many trees).ย  It said “Welcome to our little lot.”

Some of the others were for “Nana”,ย  “Aunt Sandy”, “Grandma”, etc.ย  This year I made one for each of our pastor’s wives for Christmas.ย  Each one of them cried!ย  Two of our pastor’s wives had their children listed (one has 5 and the other has 4 children) and on the third, I used the names of her grandchildren (6 of them).ย  I haven’t yet made one of these for a family with only 2-3 children/grandchildren, but I imagine that when I do, I will probably turn the paper so that it is taller than wide.ย  Or perhaps “Mom” and “Dad” could be included too.

I’m hoping to sell more of these custom tree lots this coming Christmas if I can.

I’d love to here if anyone might be interested!