Saturday, June 20, 2009

Never say "Easy"

I should have known better. By very nature of my mom's maiden name, Murphy, I SHOULD have known better.

Who would have thought that a simple character-cookie like Elmo would have been such a monumental challenge?
Clearly *I* didn't... because I told Cathy that it would be EASY to do cookies for her son's second birthday.


I'm not going to bore you with ALLLL of the details... but the highlights of my journey into the depths of believing that Elmo was truly the spawn of Satan include:

not being able to find an Elmo-shaped cookie cutter ANYWHERE, thus having to CREATE one from scratch

not having enough 'red dye' to create an Elmo-y shade of frosting, thus having to stop mid-mixing to go buy MORE red dye to get out of the pink realm.

in new jersey, because I was at my parents' house.

waiting 12 extra hours, unable to do anything while I waiting for the 'it's about time it's finally red' frosting to harden. only to find out that it NEVER DID, thus causing me to have to...

THROW AWAY entire first batch of cookies and re-create, roll, cut, bake, and apply new first
coat of "oh dear lord I have to make red again" frosting.

before 9am, because that was the day I promised to take my kids down the shore.

Re-attack the final detail pipings so they have a chance to dry before being packaged up and sent off to the birthday boy.

only to find out the post office did not offer 2nd day air, and had to ship them overnight.


don't get me wrong. This project was a GREAT experience, and I was so so sooooo happy to do it. but MAN! issue after issue! Here's a look at the final results:

Elmo- take two... but with a NICE shade of red

They may look like they're smiling, but they're really laughing at me

Elmo heads together with the centerpiece cookie

From paper to product-- using clipart and the invite for inspiration

all wrapped up and ready to go

Ultimately, I think that this was a great reminder that I shouldn't take anything for granted... and like baking itself... the slightest variation with technique, ingredients, and/or location can create exponential differences in the final product.

There was no question ever I wouldn't get this project done. Cathy is a wonderful woman whom I've met through the internet. She has a heart of gold and is just a KIND person in general. Of course... having a 2 year old myself... there is absolutely NO WAY on this green earth that I would send her son anything that didn't look like Elmo. There was absolutely no room for failure in this project... and I feel pretty confident that Cathy and her birthday boy, Liam, were pleased with the final results.

I know my daughter Rhena was.

kid-tested and Elmo Approved!

Happy birthday, Liam!!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Little Boy Blue

Back in the beginning of the year, I was sitting in a playdate with some friends, and the conversation subject got around to working.. pre-and-post motherhood, that is.

I, of course, told my tale of engineering days gone by, to not working, to thoughts about becoming a teacher, then to the present, which is trying to make a go of Stepford. Right around that time, my husband Troy had finished putting up the first draft of a website for me. It was exciting step for me in this small business journey, so of course I wanted to share with my friends.

One of my friends saw a set or two of the onesie cookies I have done in the past, and asked if I would be able to make something for her sister's shower, which was to be held in June.

I rarely turn down an offer to make cookies for someone. I've found that not only the experience itself of making and decorating the cookies, but the actual PROCESS of working with a customer is completely invaluable. Naturally, I eagerly said yes, and set her date in my calendar.

Although I had done onesie cookies in the past, this project presented some great learning points for me. The location in which the shower was being held was a Tea House, and while completely adorably quaint.. space was limited. I was now challenged to find a vertical way of displaying the favor cookies, but yet would still be under the umbrella of Stepford-classy.

My client and I tossed around several ideas, and as a result, I am now the owner of a few cupcake display stands. Thanks to her and this project, I now have a way to creatively display the favors, should a client want that. I know that for some folks, this step may be a given, but it was a great lesson to me in that my product still has to look good after it leaves my hands.

Outside of that, and a few swallows of time-management lessons, this project was an easy one. Well, ok, EXCEPT for when, the night before the event, I completely scrapped about 20 some-odd cookies because the blue frosting I made dried more int eh teal family, and nowhere like the baby blue that the invitation boasted. oops.

Invitation-inspired colors

All in all, however, the project came out great, and I'm pleased I was able to do it.

all set up at the Tea House

Up close and personalized

detail view of favor tags and 'cake topper'

That's a wrap!

Monday, June 1, 2009

I need votes!

so the voting period has begun for the ice cream cupcake challenge!!

I would SURE love it if you took a minute to go HERE or HERE to vote for my Coconut Creme Identity Crisis cupcakes!!

The GOOD news, other than me totally being your bestest friend for voting.. is that every voter gets entered in a drawing to win some cupcake cards! how cool is that???

(very cool. trust me on that!)

so please. don't make me beg. (at least not TOO much)

go HERE and ignore all those other delicious looking ice cream cupcakes, and vote for my Coconut Creme Identity Crisis cupcakes.


cause I'll love you forever like that.