Sunday, April 26, 2009

To Honor and Celebrate

Birthdays are a celebration of the day we were born. One daughter used this day as a way to also honor the whole life lived, including all it's troubles and triumphs. She used her culture's tradition and artistry to do it.

This is probably the most creative cake I have been asked to make. Yeng called last week and asked if I would be willing and, most importantly, able to recreate the tradition of a Hmong Story Cloth on a birthday cake for her mother. The design was intricate and colorful.

A beautiful tribute to honor and celebrate.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Cloud of Queens

A friend of mine called me the other day to do a cameo cake order with a royal theme. It seems the birthday girl, in this case a grown woman, is affectionately know as the Deli Queen at work. Why not have a bit of fun while honoring her day? I've said it before, we are never too old to enjoy a party.

It was my pleasure to play. Happy birthday to the Queen!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

When Is The Right Time?

Although the 2009 wedding season is just getting started and plenty of brides are confirming their vendors for this year, just as many 2010 brides are also lining up their planning calendars, making appointments and crossing items of their to-do lists.
The common question is: When is the right time to order your cake?
My answer? It's never too early.

More and more couples are wanting to pay for their wedding as they go along, to not carry a credit card balance well past the event date. Thus the early planning for next season. But is it ever wrong to sign contracts and places deposits this far ahead?
I think it depends on your personality. Certainly, it's always good to make phone calls to understand services offered and prices to help establish what your budget could be. At that point, you can start to make decisions about what is most important and has to be part of your event, what has room to be adjusted or compromised, and what could be eliminated without pangs of disappointment if the budget won't stretch that far.

Now you decide how comfortable you are with making final choices for vendors. With my cakes, the signing of the contract and 25% deposit hold your date, your time of delivery and the price per slice. If you are booking your cake several months to a year ahead, this will protect you from any price increase. The details of the cake including shape, flavor and design are completely free to change up until about 1 month before your event.

Many vendors only accept a certain number of events a weekend, so if you don't confirm soon enough, your favorite vendor might not be available.
Here's the tricky part. Deposits are non-refundable. So, balance the ability to cross your cake off the to-do list and having an established, confirmed budget item, with the possiblity that something will change within the next 8-14 months.

So, the right time is when you know without a doubt that the vendor you choose is the absolute perfect fit with no reservations.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Storybook Sweets

It has been an absolute bumper crop of children's cakes lately. With kids and their constantly changing personalities and interests, the inspiration for birthday cakes is endless. Favorite characters from cartoons and books have been very popular.

I am an avid reader, as are my neices and nephews, so I often give books as gifts, and usually buy myself one at the same time. I can't pass up a beautifully illustrated storybook. A favorite author is Maurice Sendak, so I had a great time doing little Willy's cake this past week. He loves Where the Wild Things Are. This book is as old as I am and yet it doesn't feel dated for this 3 year old.

Willy was very excited when he heard the Cake Lady would put Max on his storybook sweet!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Photo OP

Rule number one: take pictures of everything. I tell my students this everyday in class. So is this a do as I say, not as I do? I sent out a very cute cake yesterday for a little girl named Madison. Her favorite show is about a little Canadian boy named Caillou. Her mom sent me to a couple of websites so I could familiarize myself and find an image to put on the cake.

I finished the cake, put it in the fridge to chill again since it was filled with mousse, and moved on to this weekend's project. It wasn't until after I handed off the cake and went back to my project that it hit me. I did not take any photos! Bad Teacher, bad teacher.
At least I saved the image.

Happy Birthday Madison.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Day Away

Last weekend had nothing to do with cakes. I actually spent a couple of days away. I went to visit my sister and her family in Cedar Rapids.A low key change of scenery with a good dose of kids and dogs. Of course I did bring plenty of treats.

My sister and brother-in-law have recently adopted 2 dogs. The most recent is a rescue Great Pyrenees named Duke. We visited the farm where he had been staying with 11 other dogs(all but one a Great Pyrenees), 3 Llamas, 6 peacocks, and 10 goats. There are going to be llama and goat babies by May, and they are expecting at least one set of triplets. Most of the dogs, like Duke, are rescues, and most will be placed in homes where they can work. A young male named Joey will be guardian over a flock of baby doll sheep-a miniature breed being used to control weeds in an apple orchard. How cute is that?
The photo doesn't let you see the dog on my left that I'm petting, just goats and llamas.
I admire those that rescue animals that have been mistreated, spending time nurturing them and giving them a chance at a good life. This farm is a great place full of happy animals and some very pushy goats!

Just so you know, it's spring in Iowa, but we got almost 6" of snow later that afternoon. It melted by the time I had left the following afternoon, but what a difference a day makes.