Anna’s Birthday Party

I’m having a busy week teaching morris dancing to small children at a primary school (anyone who knows me will get a big laugh out of that) but I am finally finding time to post some pictures from last weekend.


Naturally, gin figured large. I made several kinds and had particular fun making the labels. That’s really how much there was of the Cherry gin, I didn’t just drink half of it before the party.

strawberry gin label

I had a lot of fun doodling on the labels.

Rhubarb Gin label

And the curly-baroque inspiration helped with the cake, which was the smoothest-running cake I’ve ever done. Nothing went wrong at any point. I’m sure it’ll never happen again.

white cake

At the white stage, it looked like a perfectly presentable normal-person’s wedding cake (not like the crazy-coloured wedding cakes I tend to do)

white cake closeup

coloured cake closeup

But after a few hours’ painting it looked more like my normal style. I was really pleased with it, and luckily so was Anna.

coloured cake

The roof for the building worked alright, which is a good thing because it was raining on the Friday. In fact, I had to climb on top of the pergola in the rain to put the thing up. And it stretched a lot more than I anticipated in the rain, so it was a tiny bit saggy, but nobody noticed.

party in the pergola

another view of the pergola

The sun did finally come out, and the rain didn’t really trouble us after that.

working on the future greenhouse site

I do love it when party guest get to work. They cleared out around an old water tank and emptied it, including two people climbing into it to shovel out the mud from the bottom. Nothing short of heroic.

bee hives

At one point during the weekend we were convinced that a family of bees had taken up residence in the hives, but by the next day there was no sign of them, so we assume they were just doing a bit of exploration and house-cleaning.

steven the imp

Steven took on the form of an imp while building the fire to burn all the weeds from the newly cleared ground. He’s the best.

ice cream party

Mid afternoon on Saturday we stopped for the official birthday ice cream. I’d made six flavours: lemon curd, peach pie, espresso, peanut brittle, maple pecan and strawberry lime. I thought the peanut brittle was amazing, but the strawberry lime won the most votes. I need to practice more and learn how to get the texture right.


Mixed salad, quinoa salad and potato salad for the evening feast.

a fire truly worthy of Elmo

Elmo built a truly Elmo fire.

a very hot fire

It was so hot we had to crawl on the ground to get close enough to it to cook.

lighting candles

After stuffing ourselves with sausages and teriyaki beef (which now officially contains sherry, the best secret ingredient ever) we lit up the wonder-cake and sat around admiring it for a while.

the beautiful cake

Ok, I might be a little self-congratulatory, which is probably contrary to cultural norms, but yeah, I was proud of that cake.

Awesome Anna

I think this is Anna’s “I can’t think of a wish” face, not the “disdain” face. She assures me.

Anna and Lily

And finally: Sunday morning we woke up to the ultra-cute sight of Lily having found a comfy place to sleep. It’s a good thing she’s not allergic to cats.

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