When I’m stressed, sometimes I play guitar. Usually some Showbread, some Ramones or some Boxcar Racer. Sometimes I draw graffiti lettering or paint something intense and / or offensive. Other times…
And some of those times that stress builds up at the perfect time.
Last night, our friends hosted a Christmas party inviting friends and family for a few drinks, some food and good conversation. All three were present and in abundance, but there was a one-up in the form of a silent auction. Attendees were required to bring something hand-made to be auctioned off with the proceeds going to The Shining Star Club; a program offered though Water Angels Ministry, a Christian outreach to the homeless and inner city children in the Knoxville area.
What a cool idea and a great excuse to get down on some new projects.
So project one was a rum cake. Not just any rum cake, mind you – a Butterfinger rum cake. Using a mildly-altered Paula Deen recipe, I set out to make a tasty rum cake. We just happened to be getting our hair cut on the same day, so I wanted to take our stylist a cake, too, and being the smart guy I am, I made a small “half” sized version for us to try, ourselves, to make sure it didn’t suck before we took them to our friends. Two and a half rum cakes?
The recipe I used takes two days to make. Day one consists of putting together the cake mix: a combination of yellow cake mix, instant vanilla pudding mix, eggs, water, light rum and butterscotch schnapps. I filled up two bundt pans and a small loaf pan and got to baking. After about an hour, I let the cakes cool for about 30 minutes and mixed together the initial glaze – a mixture of butter, crushed Butterfinger candies, sugar, more rum and more schnapps. After piercing the cakes with a fork several times (while still in the pan) I poured the initial glaze, covered with aluminium foil and left them to sit over night.
The next day, those cakes come out of the pans and we put together the secondary glaze – amongst other things, a melted combination of chocolate chips, half and half, water and some more schnapps. Once thickened a little, it goes over the top and finalized with a sprinkling of more crushed Butterfinger candies.
And good Lord in Heaven this stuff is good…
…What? Some actual art?
Cakes were ready to deliver but I wasn’t finished yet.
I really enjoy working with linoleum blocks for print making and thought it would be a cool idea to make a print for the party. I made a pretty simple design in Photoshop, reversed the image and printed it. Trace it onto the block, heat it up a bit, and carve it out. I rolled on some black print ink and made 12 prints all together – some on bristol paper, acrylic paper and watercolor paper. Of the 12, nine are presentable and I framed one for the party.
And what a popular item it was.
I think between the cake and the print, we were able to add ~$70 to the pot (Erin also made a tea wreath that brought in an extra $20). We came away with a painting, a basket of cookies and wine, a scarf and a jar of home-made pancake mix. At the end of the night, the auction was able to raise just a hair under $700. What a cool thing to be able to do during the holiday season. Good friends, great food and helping out an incredible cause.
Get down on some home-made goodies for your family for the holidays…And if you suck at cooking, buy someone’s art – not a framed piece from Pier 1 – your house and a humble artist will both thank you for it!