Sunday, 16 December 2012

Feliz Cumpleaños John!!

At those mile-stone events and important moments in one's life some people mark them by celebrating with champagne, a toast, a big meal, or a special cigar. However, with the latter, my friend thought this might send the wrong message when celebrating the birth of his son just before Christmas. Instead, he opted for an edible version of the rolled treats, chocolate cigars! A much...healthier...version?? I guess it depends on how many cigars people eat in order to celebrate.

I loved how they turned out, and I had fun doing something different with chocolate.

Welcome little Baby John!

Crèche Family Reunion

 Last year my first really big order was for the Church's Sunday school. To celebrate their pageant I made Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, a donkey, and a camel (although the camel could also be a cow, a moose, a beige hippo, or from some angles a giant hamster!!). This year, I was asked for an encore. It was nice coming back to a familiar design and seeing how my techniques have changed over the past year; Certain things were easier, some things were the same, and some things I tried to do a little differently. One new thing was my new big board for drying so making all 70 of these happy characters was so much easier to do!! As always, however, when the children at church see them at the table, rush over, choose one and eat it, my favourite part is their smile!

Happy holidays to everyone, be safe in the snow, and remember to take a little time just to sit and enjoy some silence, reflecting on the depth of this holiday.



Happy Baby Jesus

The Donkey

and the choose-an-animal. Meant to be a camel, but cow works too...

Toute la Gang

2012 Family Photo!

...and Tigger Too!!

Back in August, I made a grouping of Pooh bears for a little 2-year-old but for today's 2-year-old, Zach, I made a gathering of Tiggers! When Zach's Nana talked to me about ordering Tiggers for his birthday, I though "I've made Pooh Bear, why not Tigger??". Now of course my boyfriend wants me to make all the characters... However, after the first couple of steps I started to have my doubts. I felt they looked more like oddly coloured Yodas with orange ears and pink noses. Feeling rather discouraged, I ignored them for a while. Eventually, I figured I should at least finish one to see if I could coax Tigger out of the cake. When Patrick came home from work, I waited for his reaction to seeing the complete cake pop. To my relief he gasped, and exclaimed "Tigger!!". Thank goodness, he didn't look like Yoda!! I guess I learned that although they may not start looking like the characters straight away and instead of panicking and trying to figure how to eat all the evidence of the failed attempt, I need to just find out the characteristics that make them unique and go for that.
Once they were all done, smiling at me from their stand (yes, I know, Tigger is not leopard print but what can I do when they don't have tiger print felt??) I felt so proud of myself and I couldn't wait for Zach's Nana to see them. I hope the little Birthday boy loved them too!!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Little Lexie is One!

Lexie's Mum, an old colleague of mine, came up to me last month and said she was thinking of making a cake for her daughter's first birthday, but wasn't sure how. That's where I would come in. Nathalie came up with some great ideas, and I translated those into sugar. I had never done this cake-making workshop type of deal before but it was a lot of fun! We spent a fabulous evening watching a beautiful Minnie Mouse inspired cake emerge from layers of cake, butter cream and fondant all the while of course testing all the products to assure their highest quality. Now Nathalie can be proud when she shows off her cake to her family, earning a million Mum-Points when she says "no, I didn't order it, I made it!!". (Although, I have a feeling it's the last time she ever makes black fondant...)

Let the dirty icing begin!! Remember, "icing is our friend!"

Tara keeping a watchful eye on the progress.

"Tada!!" Now, it goes into the fridge.

Onto Minnie's head. Make sure her lines are straight, Tara!

Minnie head gets a dirty ice.

Loving the Lazy Susan.

That's fondant, NOT cheese!!!!

Everything going okay so far, Tara?

Nat got her work-out kneeding fondant.... who let me into my own blog??
Rolling out the fondant for the base.

Fondant on the first layer.

Now for the black fondant.

Finishing touches- fondant flowers and piped butter cream stars.

Good to have a steady hand!

 Yay Nat!!!! The little Minnie head off the side was Nat's idea! This is Lexie's very own piece of cake to play with and enjoy.

So fantastic! I was incredibly proud of Nat. She picked up everything really quickly and got stuck in to the work (quite literally in some cases). The outcome was perfect! Lexie is a lucky girl.

Wonka Takes the Cake

Last year we had Cinderella's Cake Ball, this year's performance was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and it also needed to be honoured with chocolate and cake. No shortage of inspiration for sweet treats, flavours, and designs within the magical world of Willy Wonka! My main challenge would be to choose only a handful of designs to represent the wild world of the chocolate factory. The young lady who's Mum had ordered these cake pops was playing "Violet Bauregarde", the gum-chewing brat who turns purple and blows up like a balloon. No guess then that one of the pops would be "Violet". As for the other designs, I tried to think of the things that came to mind when I thought of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory... Umpa Lumpas of course, the Chocolate Room, psychedelic 1970's imagery and naturally the Golden Ticket. The fun was translating those images in my head into confection.

Behold the results!
The whole wacky group- a welcome change from all the Christmas designs!

All wrapped up and prettied.

Violet Bauregarde, which I was particularly pleased with her little hands and her collar being sucked into her ever expanding body!

The Umpa Lumpa. Less was more, I learned.

The Toad Stools. When everyone gets to the Chocolate Room, Mike Teavee's Mum greedily scoops down into one with her hand.

The "Psychedelic Gob Stoppers". I wanted to try this new technique where you swirl the chocolate before it sets on the cake. 

 And lastly, the golden ticket made to be just like a wrapped candy. I drew the Wonka "W" on the pop, then wrapped it in gold foil making sure the "W" became visible.  

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Getting my Priorities Right!

I've been in my house two weeks now, and my kitchen looks like I've been in it two months at least. Not quite in keeping with the rest of the house (seeing as last night was the first time I actually SAT in the living room), but as the title suggests I had to get my priorities in line because I had orders coming up!! I'm noticing straight away that there is a benefit to having way more space to spread out in (sorry Patrick) and having all my supplies on shelves right next to my work area (sorry again Patrick) and that I'm happy to work for hours in my new workshop ( get the idea Patrick). Things aren't all bad for him, though... after all, who now gets first dibs on the duds?? This weekend's four commissions thoroughly broke in the kitchen. I'm pleased to say it works!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Edgewater Sale, Round Two!

Edgewater was my first ever sale last year, so it was a real treat to come back a year later and see familiar faces and likewise to have people come up to me and say that they remembered me! There was a great turn out, and there was lots of interest in future orders which is really exciting!

Considering last year I had only five designs, and just Christmas ones, I felt really proud this year to set up my table with not only my designs from last year, but new Christmas designs along with my everyday cake pops, and my "gourmet boxes" in both mint and lemon flavours, plus my photo album showing all my designs that I've made over the past year. Seeing it all in front of me at once reminds of everything I've done over the past view months, and is only made all the sweeter by those smiling faces on kids (and even big adult kids I noticed too) when they see and taste the cake pops.

Thanks to all who came to my table and supported me!

Rock On......

I know, the cakes I usually make are often described as "cute" and "adorable," but I wouldn't use those words to describe this latest commission. These were a very special order designs for a friend's Birthday, and this friend's particular obsession is with the band KISS. I've know him my whole life, and I have young memories of seeing posters of these black and white scary-looking men on his wall. Little did I know that 20 years later I would be fashioning those images into cake and chocolate. So, as much I never thought it could happen, I made KISS look..... cute!? 

Never mind whether or not they were cute, I loved doing something different and a little more "hard core". And above all, I really enjoyed trying a new blending technique where I had to grade the chocolate on some of the pops from red to orange to yellow. It worked!! I'm glad with how they looked, and I've had reports from the family that the Birthday Boy was pleased as well!

Happy Rockin' Birthday Mike!

I learned who all the characters are in the band, from left to right we have a Demon, a Fox, a Star, a Cat, a Spaceman, and an Egyptian Cross. 

Showing the grading of the colours. Would have been easier with a larger work surface, but I'm still  thrilled with how it all came out.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

St. George's Sale!!

Thanks to all who came out and chatted with and supported me at this year's St. George's Christmas Bazaar. What a feeling to hear comments like "I remember you from last year!" and "My girls loved getting your cake pops last Christmas!". That's why I do it. That's why I have all the late night and the urge to throw chocolate, to bring a smile to someone's face. 

I went with a few different sections for my table. I had a few of my gourmet Mint Chocolate boxes, some classic Christmas designs, some basic but fun designs and best of all I made some to support the Accessible Bathroom fund at our church. As I mentioned in a previous post, this is a cause that is near and dear to my heart so I wanted to do something special. 

This sale marks the start of the holiday season, and two weeks until my second sale. I've got some orders for Christmas pops, and ideas brewing for the next sale.... busy times ahead!

Again, a big thank you to everyone who turned out today! Much appreciated.

And now to bed.....

 Work in progress. I'm finding that I run out of space quickly with bigger orders, something I will definitely have to address when I move into my NEW kitchen!!

 All set up!

My view of the operation. Right to left, Christmas, Plain, and Accessible Pops in the stand.

 A melange of the plain designs. 

 And my pièce de resistance, the Accessible Cake Pops in their stand with their stickers.