I was looking for a way to mark an even level on the side of a cake without getting all technical about it, and I came up with this:
Now this may look strange, but I swear it works. I took a wooden skewer and stuck a corn cob holder to it so that the holder was flat against the skewer, and then I held the skewer up vertically on the side of the cake and dragged the point around it. Just keep the flat end of the skewer against the cake board, and you'll end up with a line that's perfectly even all the way around the cake.
So I told some friends about it, and one of them BURST MY BUBBLE by sending me a photo of a cake side scriber. Click the link to see what it looks like. I actually knew that something like this did exist, but I couldn't think of what it would be called. It's used to mark the level on the sides of cakes so that you can place ribbons and other decorations on evenly. (If you have time to look around that website you should. There are a lot of interesting tools there for royal-icing cakes, which is a style that isn't done very much in the U.S., but definitely takes cake skills.)
My version of the scriber has the benefit of being cheap and accessible, and you can also eat corn on the cob with it, a feature that the cake scriber doesn't offer. That makes it far superior, so there!
So what weird household items do you use when you decorate? I'd be interested in hearing other things that people use. I use egg cartons for a bunch of things, and tinfoil is a staple, but are there things that you've "repurposed" for your decorating? The weirdest idea will win one skewer/corn cob holder thingy, unless you have one of your own.
Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.biz and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com