Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge

merge [murj] verb, merged, merg·ing.
             to cause to combine or coalesce; unite.

When I first reflected upon the word “merge” I thought of several different things. First off, and most obvious of course, is the merging lives of my main man and myself. The minor merging of our not-so-different cultures, the merging of our different family traditions and routines and merging our different styles and tastes into one home. I reflected on a more personal level and I thought immediately about how when teaching and making lesson plans I’d merge as many subjects together as made sense. I thought about how I enjoy merging different ingredients together when I bake or different artistic techniques together to make a new piece. Then I thought about all the crap in my brain that’s merging together at this moment and started to develop a headache (my questionable brain can only handle so much thinking).

The Bad Merge and the Good Merge

It’s funny because a lot of thought went into the beginning portion of this project, and then I just decided to screw it and take the easy-peasy-most-definitely-cheesy way out on this one. Upon completion of said easy-peasy-most-definitely-cheesy way out I found myself to be extremely disappointed and embarrassed with what I had come up with and therefore chose to take it somewhere completely different. It was then that I realized I should just merge my good merge and my bad merge all onto one Mergical Post.

I’m reminded of my immature attitude in a particular university art class when I was like, “I tried it your way, I can’t do it and you can obviously see it sucks. Now I’m going to do it my way and make it better.” So, in that same respect, I did the assignment- I merged stuff, but as added icing on the cupcake (so to speak) I added something that means merge to me, whether it’s artistic or not… it’s nice to see that I’ve grown, isn’t it?

The Bad Merge: I started to look at old pictures, seeing if I had any contrasting ones that I could merge together. The challenge this week encouraged you to put an object where it doesn’t belong or juxtapose two different objects. I found this:

A picture I took in December of the iconic bull on Wall Street in the busy city of downtown Manhattan, and this:

Sweet and delicate little white flowers on the bank of a serene waterfall and river. I decided to merge these two completely opposite things together into one picture using Photoshop. I just got the basic version and have really only used it to fix coloring, remove blemishes or crop and straighten a picture, so this was a really good excuse to play around with things and experiment, as the challenge coaxed.  All that being said, I think I went too far and came up with this bunch of bull:

It’s okay to laugh, this picture is the bane of my artistic existence.

I hate it, to each their own but it’s just not my style. I like both of the pictures individually better than the one of them combined. I’m glad I got to try new things out in Photoshop, I learned a few new techniques and features… but man oh man, that picture is stupid isn’t it?

I’m actually embarrassed that I put it up. What does it mean? I couldn’t even think of funny text to put with it to make it into a stupid meme because the picture is stupid enough as it is.

Ugh, the pure disgust I felt for this picture left a bad taste me my mouth. I didn’t want my readers to feel the same way.

A cup of coffee and some homemade cinnamon raisin toast calmed me down just fine.

The Good Merge: It’s funny to actually say “the answer was right under my nose”. Eating something that I made by merging different ingredients together has pushed me to finally sharing a deliciously yummy treat that I made a few weeks ago. Merging together two wonderfully tasty things like cinnamon buns and cupcakes are sure to make my readers forgive me for my ridiculous attempt at Photoshopping. It also makes me feel a little better, going back to my ‘roots’ and sharing a baking recipe. That’s my style, not bull pictures that make no sense.

Mmmmm, pretty ooey and gooey looking, right? You best-be-believin’ that these babies smelled just as amazing. I adapted this recipe from The Six Sisters’ Stuff recipe for Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Cake. If you’ve never been to The Six Sister’s Site before I’d definitely advise you to go there and check it out. Full of great recipes, DIY projects for around the home and for you and the kids- it’s a great place to get sucked in for an hour or so. When I say I “adapted” the recipe what I mean is that I didn’t change the recipe at all, just flat out stole it and put it into cupcake form, which just meant I had to shorten the bake time.

Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes
(from Six Sisters’ Stuff)

Cake Batter
3 cups flour
¼ tsp salt
1 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1½ cups milk
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
4 tbsp butter, melted

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp cinnamon

2 cups powdered sugar
5 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°. Mix the cake batter together in a large bowl and pour into cupcake wrappers in your muffin tin. Merge (see what I did there?) the cinna-swirl ingredients together in another bowl and drop the mix evenly over the cupcakes. Swirl the swirl into the cakes with a spoon or knife (This part was a bit harder with cupcakes than I’d imagine it would be with the big cake, it was hard to get a good swirl going in such a small amount of space- but it’s definitely do-able!). Place into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until you can pull a fork out clean.

Whisk (or fork) the glaze ingredients together and smooth over the cupcakes. I’m assuming this is a far, far messier process than it would be to glaze one large cake. If the cupcakes are still warm and the glaze is runny, then the glaze will dribble everywhere. It’s not too hard to control, just keep the runny glaze away from the edges with a spoon or knife. That, or you could let it dribble all over your table and lick it clean it later.

These treats are best served warm and not near a bull who’s got a thing for flowers.

Extra points to those of you who figure how many times “merge” shows up in this post…


4 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge

  1. Oh my word those Cinnamon roll cupcakes look so darn good!….oooooh, if only I could, I would (maybe I’ll bookmark this for later though…just in case I change my mind 😉 !)

    I just love the way you merged a series of photo’s into a story and written so eloquently, I love this post!

    Immie 😀

  2. OK, I had a doctors appt yesterday, I had to get on that horrible thing called the scale. I didn’t like the number looking back at me. I decided to make smarter food choices and drop 3 or 4 pounds. Im thinking, I may have to hold off on that as I feel an overwhelming desire to try the cinnamon roll cupcakes!

Now what do you think about that?

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