Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Kitsch-en Kounter: "Give Me LIBERTY [Jell-O] or Give Me Death!!!"

Call it a fixation, if you must, but there is nothing wrong with a grown man constantly thinking about the evolutionary trajectory of a Barbie/princess cake.

If you've been playing along at home, you may recall Blinky,
the Bearded-Lady Cake, who was the centerpiece of our Family 
Freak Show Birthday Party.

Our friend's recent marionette wedding at the Bob Baker
Marionette Theater resulted in this naughty, little nuptial-
themed number. 

Left with the other half of the doll that I used for the groom's legs (above), I pondered the potential for the remaining torso, arms, and head.  This year it was clear that we should celebrate that bastion of hope and freedom, The Statue of Liberty.  With a Barbie cake always on my mind, I was confident I had at least one half (the top half) of our 4th of July Kitsch-en Kounter recipe all ready to go.

Well...almost all ready to go.
I had to drape a toga, steal the finial from a small flag for the torch, permanently
bend one arm, and make a tablet and the iconic coronet out of chip board.  In a
time when some of our most prominent celebrities are transitioning, I didn't give
a second thought to using this violet-haired man for the the Statue of Liberty;
indeed, they both share that same square-jaw, strong nose, and full lips - a
Classical profile is timeless and of free from it's the only doll
torso I had in stock... 

And then it was time to paint.
Because realism is so vital to our Kitsch-en Kounter mission, I couldn't just
paint the darn thing green.  First I applied a few light coats of metallic, gold
spray paint.  The verdigris was achieved with a wash of acrylic craft paint in
Caribbean Blue.  Yes, realism is paramount to our operation...with food
safety taking a distant second.

Cake would have been the obvious choice for Liberty's nether regions but I wanted something that truly screamed 4th of July!!!  Instead of cake, I decided to further along the Barbie cake's evolution by once again exploring the possibilities of America's favorite gelatinous food medium - Jell-O.

To give the lime-flavored gelatin some opacity, I added
a can of sweetened, condensed milk.  To get a color match,
I added a few drops of aqua food coloring.

Up until this point, I had everything I needed on-hand to complete the craft/recipe.  Strangely enough, I hadn't considered a mold.  And what would a Jell-O mold be, after all, without a mold?  That's right...just Jell-O.

After much ferreting around in the deep recesses of the cupboards, I came up empty handed.  I needed a Jell-O mold with some height and a bit of movement and texture to evoke the sweeping skirts of our statuesque inspiration.  And then a strange thing happened; I remembered the best-selling vase from the home-furnishings retailer in which I worked many years ago.  It was the correct height and had the organic fluting that I wanted.  With no hope of finding the vase, I resigned myself to a hopeless search through the local thrift stores for something that might work.  Believe it or not, the very first store into which I set foot yielded the exact vase for which I was looking - an unprecedented bit of good luck!!!

Sometimes I wish my luck would operate on a grander scale...but for today, I suppose this will do.

See those undulating lines?
Don't they remind you of the Statue of Liberty's skirt too?!!!

Given that this was a glass vase (with a thick-sham base and all that fluting) rather than an aluminum Jell-O mold, I was more than slightly nervous about un-molding my creation.  After 24 hours in the fridge, I gingerly set the vase into a sink full of warm water and said a quick prayer to the statue's first sculptor, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi.

Prayers are answered, folks.

Moments later, after a fair bit squelching, I was looking at the
wobbly beginnings of our lime Jell-O Lady Liberty!

Just like Bartholdi and the French government before me, it had come time to assemble my statue and present it as a gift to the people of America - but not without some finishing touches.

Did I paint a birthday candle and cut it down so Lady Liberty
would have a functioning torch?  You'd better believe it, buster.

No Jell-O salad would be complete without a garnish.  I used curly parsley
and maraschino cherries - exactly like Liberty Island in New York Harbor.

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your [jiggling] masses, yearning to [eat] free..."

Heck, with phrases like that, the Statue of Liberty sounds like she's talking about "People Like You and Me."

"People Like You and Me" - The Glenn Miller Orchestra in Orchestra Wives

Happy 4th of July, you wacky tacky turkey necks!!!


Mr. Tiny


  1. Holy moly that is awesome! Chris, you never cease to amaze me with your fantastically kitschalicious concoctions.

  2. This is so creative! The craft Gods were looking down on you with that vase! Happy 4th Mr. Tiny!

  3. I am so freakin' proud to be an american and follow your blog! This may be my favorite kitsch thing you have made! SO GOOD!

    1. Thanks, Kimmie...and now I'll have "I'm Proud to be an American" in my head ALL DAY LONG!!!! Hahaha!!!

  4. Mr. Tiny, you are a national treasure. Your dedication to edible doll creations is unparalleled.

    1. A NATIONAL TREASURE like Nicolas Cage?!?!! I'll take it! Thanks, Rae!


    your creativity never ceases to amaze me, keep up the great work! =)