I saw some cute ideas of cakes online that were all beyond my current abilities, but here's what I came up with. A stack of books, a Gryffindor scarf and some store-bought detailing. (I'm not, sadly, up to speed on making gum-paste Harry Potter glasses.) I learned also that covering cakes partially in fondant is much more difficult that fully covering them, especially of your covering the bottom and top but not the sides.
I also was grateful that it didn't matter if the "books" looked old and wrinkly because they're supposed to be old and wrinkly. I had some extra cake batter so I made a little stand for the sorting hat and painted on wording with a small paintbrush and a little gel coloring mixed with almond extract.
There were plenty of mistakes (a brush gone awry was turned into a snake) but all in all I learned a lot and am excited for my next project. Perhaps I'll look back on this cake and think of my salad days of cake baking, where the steep 2 a.m. learning curve ruled the day.
In other news, another year of holiday baking is in the books. There was a new record: 12 dozen cinnamon rolls. I gotta get me a Hobart.
So, all of you that are dieting or doing that crazy Nutrisystem (sheer insanity, I tell you, but that's a post for another day), just take a long look at the cinnamon rolls, take a deep breath, and go eat some celery. Or just make the rolls.