...Although, honestly, it's been less 'not wanting to write' and more 'being dreadfully tired while still having ideas flitting about brain'. I've been cooking away ideas on roleplays-to-be-done and fanfiction, of all things - I haven't written fanfiction in a decade! - but - ...oh my word, do I feel old now, that that fact's just sunk in - it's been so blasted hard to focus my brain on actually getting all those words down that I've just left them to percolate for the moment.
Perhaps this week I'll actually get some of them out of the brain and onto... well, not paper. In a text file somewhere, I guess.
I have a whole week's break from classes, because I am finished my practicum a whole week earlier than everyone else in my class, hee~
So between the time of the last post and this one, I've managed to muddle my way through cake-making - which was altogether unfamiliar territory for me - and the advanced patisserie levels of my pastry chefery course. Cakes started out pretty rough, but by the time I got through to the end of the course, I'd made some pretty dandy looking cakes, I actually learned how to write legibly with chocolate without making a terrible mess of things, and discovered that I really like making flowers and figures out of marzipan and gumpaste (although lilies are a pain in the butt; they take forever to do and are super fragile), and I am actually a pretty decent hand at using both airbrushes and paintbrushes to colour said things.
I took pictures of some of the stuff I was most proud of - although I do apologise for the quality on some of 'em. Most days I only had my 3DS around to use as a camera, hehe.
Royal icing wedding cake 1: One Two Top Detail (This cake was the first sort of practice run at doing a royal-iced cake. I ended up really screwing up on the smoothing of the icing over the cake dummies, but the detailing and butterflies turned out pretty nicely.)
Royal icing cake 2: One (Fixed the problems on the masking with this one. Each snowflake inscribed on it was of a different pattern, of course.)
Chocolate figurine: One Two (Owl here had a bit of a problem when it came to his chest - I used tempered gianduja (a milk chocolate with ground hazelnuts in it) instead of regular milk chocolate, and the mold apparently didn't appreciate it that much. I really like how his face came out, though. I did the same mold on my final practical test with just the yellow, white, and dark chocolate, and he looked pretty decent.)
Chocolate box, treasure chest: One Two Three (I wasn't really happy with how the box itself turned out; the chocolate warped quite a bit as it was setting and I ended up ruining the wood pattern on it in an attempt to heat it up a little and wrangle it back into shape. The mouldable chocolate figurine, on the other hand? I am so proud. I never have been really 'artistic' in any kind of sense, whether drawing or sculpting, but working on this little gal just worked for me. The wings need a bit of fixing up, if I ever did something like it again, but otherwise she looks perfect to me.)
Plated dessert: One Two (I did a total of five different desserts, but this one was the one that tickled my fancy the most. I call it 'Dreamboat', and it was made on Valentine's Day - lemon tarts with meringue swans, and a heart-shaped sluicing of raspberry sauce.)
Marzipan fruits, veggies, and figures: Uncoloured one Uncoloured two Full Display Fruits detail one Fruits detail two Mario figurine set (Especially proud of the rose in fruits detail one. I kept that one; it almost looks real.)
Fondant wedding cake 1: One Two Top detail (This cake started out as an idea to pay homage to Princess Zelda's costume in Twilight Princess. I wasn't able to quite work in all the detail I wanted to with the time we had, but it turned out okay for a first try at working with fondant, anyway. The roses here aren't quite as refined as the marzipan roses up above - I was still working on getting the making of them down at this point. The tendrils coming away from the centerpiece are what was supposed to have been a lily - it just, uh, kind of broke at the bottom ends when I was trying to put it together, so I used what I had, hehe.)
Fondant wedding cake 2: One Two Three Four Five Six (Stab at a 'real' wedding cake, although still styrofoam under the fondant, of course. Figured out here that a) square cakes are much, much harder to drape in fondant than round, and b) ribbon is a cake-maker's best friend for covering up oopses. The orchids were completely freehanded, from cutting to shaping; lilies and stephanotis I had special cutters for but still shaped by hand. Royal icing designs also piped freehanded, although if I did that top tier design again I'd probably try to clean up the details a wee bit. My instructor was impressed, at any rate, so I guess that counts as something.)
The last practical test had a buttload of stuff to be done on it, and I didn't quiiiite finish - I had a problem with my royal icing at the very end of the second day and it got way too thin to be useable, so I ended up not being able to complete a pearl border on my special occasion cake - but I still ended up with an 85% on it. Which, eh, not terrible. Theory final I walked away with 97%.
The last thing was, of course, the practicum. I did mine at Beta 5 Chocolates, spending fourteen days there seeing what it's like actually working in the industry. Beta 5 is pretty amazing - they ethically source all of their chocolates, and use a lot of local ingredients and produce for the rest of what they do. High artisan stuff, with excellent quality and awesome flavour combinations of all kinds. I spent seven days working in their chocolate kitchen - producing a bunch of chocolate bars, for the most part, and observing the production of their easter line - and then spent another seven working in their pastry kitchen with cookies and croissants and creams of all description.
The staff were all really helpful and patient with the stupid newbie and all her questions and muckups (:3), and it was a pretty illuminating experience. Worst thing about the whole experience? OW HOLY MOTHER MY FEET. D:
(I have good kitchen clogs. They are just not broken in yet. It made for eight and a half hours of standing an... interesting experience.)
The head pastry chef, Adam, even gave me a nice parting gift on my last day. I'll probably throw up a post about that on its own self, once I take some pictures.
So, with that done, I'm pretty much done with my schooling. I've got a couple of reports to finish up about the work experience, and we're being offered an optional week about sugar work (pulled and cast and what-not), which I'll attend because awesome. That aside? Soon time to be applying for jobs... which I am not looking forward to. I hate the whole passing-around-resumes thing, blech.
I've managed to finish a couple of video games. Mostly 3DS/DS, of course, since I've been on transit for a while. Radiant Historia was intriguing, and even if parts of the gameplay were non inspiring (I totally didn't find out about the 'skip' function for scenes that had already been seen until after I'd finished it), I found the writing in it really awesome and most of the characters pretty engaging. An enjoyable tale! Even if most of the internet seems to have Raynie's motivations wrong. (I seriously do not understand how they manage to misunderstand her so - but, whatever. Maybe I'll spell it out in some of the percolating fanfiction I'm contemplating.)
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask was diverting and fun as usual for the series, even if I was dreadfully unimpressed with the episode's antagonist. It's like, dude. C'mon. You went off on an entirely stupid notion and got yourself seemingly killed directly against the wishes of your girlfriend who had lost her brother to some similar nonsense. I certinaly wouldn't have waited around for you forever, heartbroken. It's really not unreasonable to assume she would have moved on. No need for some half-cocked revenge plot... or such unstylish white tuxedos, really.
And then there was the Citadel DLC for Mass Effect 3. I laughed. I cried. It was probably the best love letter to the series they could've written... although I would've liked to see more Kaidan, but I'm biased.
Anywhoo. Time to go and see if I can't get some decent unboxing photos of my little giftie.