hi, I'm ashley.

if you're not listening to 80's music while doing crafts, you're doing it all wrong. oh, and country music while baking. always. *shrugs* that's just how i sees it.  welcome to my adventures in blogtown.


boho cactus cake for mother's day!

boho cactus cake for mother's day!

when it comes to blog collaboration, i knew that there was a certain talented creative i wanted to team up with to make it happen!  My friend, Julianna is a lifestyle blogger and she's someone who i've worked with here in LA, and we have similar interests in the food and DIY digital space.  Over the years, she has become a wonderful friend of mine, a huge source of inspiration, and actually, has been a go-to resource in advice for creating this, there's no one more perfect I'd rather team up with for my very first blog collab!  and if i didn't already convince you of her craftiness, she's the designer of this amazing rainbow balloon instillation below!


we each chose a project that inspired us, and all in the name of the holiday that i will celebrate for the very first time this year....mother's day!  so it's only proper that we celebrate this with other moms, right?  this is where brandi milloy-simon comes in.  she is one of my favorite food & lifestyle hosts and mom blogger, and is actually also celebrating her first mother's day this year as well.  we've also worked together in the past and it was so fun to reconvene our creative energies! she is literally a supermom - balancing her baby and family with her tv career and killing it. she brought over her adorable baby girl, milly, and a hand-lettering embroidery craft that you will love!  she shows us how easy it is to embroider just about anything fabric!  

we invited our super talented photog friend Juliana (that's right - there's two of them!) to stop by for the fun!  All in all - I was surrounded by power women and baby rolls, so it automatically was as a huge success in my book.


i've been so inspired on the reg by some of my favorite instagram bakers, that i wanted to create something on my own that i can be proud of! and as per usu, i am personally obsessed with anything bohemian, macrame and succulent related. (who isn't?) sidenote: i have not touched fondant in probably 3 or 4 years, so was a little nerv about revisiting that old friend, but it was a nice reunion and left happy to know ya, fondant. (as a self taught baker, fondant was one of my first mediums and quite honestly, we have a love/hate relationship) so, i decided on a boho cactus cake!


your fave cake recipe 

your fave buttercream recipe (i used this swiss meringue buttercream from sugarhero.) 

white fondant (i bought 2 boxes of 1.5 lb)

white sprinkles (also known as jimmies)

flower decorations (i bought them at michael's, but this is a close alternate.)

a cake board

a skewer

brown powdered food coloring

food gel coloring in moss green

gumpaste/sugar extruder

food safe paintbrush

food safe tweezers


first, bake your cakes. mine were 6 inch rounds (tips: always line your pans with parchment. and, if need be, double your recipe to get more height) let cool completely to room temp.  (i made these cakes a day before, wrapped them really well in plastic wrap and put them in the fridge overnight. colder cakes are easier to work with when trimming - less crumbly!) cut your layers evenly with a serrated bread knife atop of a lazy susan for maximum results. 

that swiss meringue buttercream recipe listed above was a first time for me, and it tasted awesome! (i really appreciate it being the easy version, as swiss meringue usually requires you to double boil sugar and egg whites)

i crumb-coated my cake first, placed in the fridge for at least and hour and then re-frosted it. then, i placed my cake in the fridge overnight to be as cold as possible until i was ready to apply the fondant. (tip: roll out your fondant on a powdered sugar surface.  roll a large piece about 1/4 of an inch thick so that you have wiggle and stretching room) now that we have those logistics out of the way...

lets move onto the best and most fun part: the decor.

the tassels were so so so so fun. in fact, i may just put fondant tassels on every cake from now on. the sugar extruder was clutch in making this happen!  i've never worked with one before, so i was stoked to get evenly distributed strings! i probably made 30 tassels in a couple of hours in front of the TV. i made the bottom strands first, then cut smaller pieces from a cluster of strings, and rounded it out for the top part of the tassel - couldn't be more thrilled with how it turned out! i let them air dry overnight to create stability and used water to "glue" them onto the cake with a paint brush.


and of course, the heart cacti!  i could have left the cake as is, as you can see, she's stunning already, but why not take it to the next level! i also have an obsession with anything HEARTS. plus, the big/little cacti signify mama and child, SO it was just too cute.  i also made these guys the night before. i just colored fondant gently with the food coloring by toothpick, and molded them around a skewer into a heart shape, then applied the sprinkle prickles by tweezer with a dab of water. using my paintbrush and brown powdered food coloring, i was able to give the cacti more dimension and shadow by intermittently dabbing and also painting the outside of one side with it. (the powder color was easier to control then gel)   

everything about this day was just so fun.  fun mamas, cake, babies, flowers and friendship - what's not to love.


i know you're so curious about the other aspects of this amazingly creative shoot, so be sure to check out julianna's fun rainbow balloon installation here.

then, you must check out brandi's super cute (and so simple - anyone can do it) embroidered pennant right here.

y'all. go show my girl juliana some love. her magic fingers shoots so much more goodness to behold. peep it here.

ya'll, i had the best time collaborating with these amazing and talented women, and i can't wait to collaborate with them on the next one! i also have to give props to my husband (behind the scenes) and precious baby boy, who both without them i wouldn't even be able to celebrate this holiday! (jake was behind the scenes as baby wrangler & "creative director" - so thankful for him!) i hope you enjoyed this Mother's Day post and perhaps you're inspired to create some magic for your own mom or that special mom in your life! xoxo


magnetic + modern hexagon spice rack

magnetic + modern hexagon spice rack

feast of fiction celebrates 1 million subscribers

feast of fiction celebrates 1 million subscribers