Monday, March 25, 2013

Birthday-Zilla and the Birthday Cake

So, my daughter turned 8 the other weekend. Crazy, but our friends have a 9-year-old, so I sort of feel prepared for it. Y'know, their kid turns 8 and then I have a full 14 months to get used to the fact that our kid is going to be 8. Helps soften the blow.

And maybe I'm a bit biased, but she's the sweetest eight-year-old I know. Normally, she's a very accommodating child. She's our first-born and she has always loved people so much. So much so that I used to wonder why they even had toys for babies, because she was never very interested in toys, other than to chew on them. She was much more entertained by people. When her brother came along, there wasn't a moment of jealousy. It was almost bizarre: she just loved him so much and was so glad to have another person along with her all the time. Zoe's definition of a brother: permanent friend.

Zoe at 2 1/2 with her new baby brother

She's usually pretty quick to offer solutions when there are disagreements over things and many times it's: "You can have that, Simon, I'll just use this." It's not that she's never selfish, demanding or stubborn, but her usual way is pretty accommodating.

But I don't know who told her the rules all changed for her birthday, but this year wasn't the first year that she turned into something of a "Birthday-Zilla," demanding that everything had to be her way. She had to have the biggest balloon "because it's MY birthday." SHE was going to help make lunch because it was HER birthday. Fun. Still, all in all, it turned out to be a good day.

There's a lot of birthday party talk for a few months before the event around our house. It starts in earnest after Christmas. I remember the birthday party being quite the commodity as a child of Zoe's age. I guess it's one of the few things that a child really has much control or say over, so whom they invite and what they do and what the cake looks like is all a pretty big deal. Zoe described her cake and then she drew a picture of what she wanted it to look like. I wish I could find that picture; it was great. The kids helped with the flowers. I found some great fondant punches at J. Wilton Distributors which is a great little cake supply place not too far from my work. I make my own marshmallow fondant, which is easy and yummy (if you like super sweet marshmallows) and makes a lovely soft workable fondant.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cha cha cha changes!

Hey, did anyone notice some changes to my website?

Now that I finally bought my domain and directed my blog to it and added pages for my cupcake & cake flavours, prices and contact form, it's starting to look like a real (amateur) website! But this week I created my own little logo, just with my craft evangelist name.

So there's my cute little by-me designed logo. My business isn't quite lucrative enough just yet to afford a fancy designer and all that... and why won't they work for cupcakes?! Sheesh! (To be fair, I didn't ask anyone to work for cupcakes, so if you're a designer with some vision and want to work for cupcakes or crafts, contact me!)

I also figured out (through A LOT of work in PicMonkey) how to make my own watermark for my photos. I think this is super cool. Maybe it's not that cool, but I did spend a few hours on it, so please don't tell me if it's not cool, ok?

Also, a little sad update on my PAYD device... tried it Friday morning with a client and it DIDN'T WORK! The swiper didn't work! The credit card didn't look that old and the magnetic strip looked in tact. We even tried the old grocery store trick by putting in a plastic bag (why does that work? weird)! I can't wait until they get a chip reader! I suppose I could have tried punching in the numbers and run the transaction that way, but they add an extra fee for that, so BOOOOOO... I'll be trying to get that resolved and figure out what the problem is over the next little while. (sigh). It does have a nice feature in which you can record cash transactions, too, which is great because then I can get reports and keep track of all transactions for my business in one place. So, that's nice, but so far, for processing credit cards... not so great. :(

Monday, March 4, 2013

Occasions for Cupcakes

I know some of you are thinking, "I really want to try some of those cupcakes, but there are no birthdays coming up soon, so what kind of occasion is good for cupcakes?" You're not alone. People ask these things all the time. There was a study.

So, first, there's the obvious: birthdays.

Chocolate cupcake topped with vanilla buttercream and marshmallow fondant

And cupcakes aren't just for kid birthday parties, there are plenty of yummy grown up options, too: perfect for your spouse or your co-worker or your boss.

Salted caramel filled chocolate cupcake with whipped buttercream and caramel drizzle
Other obvious occasions are bridal showers and weddings.

Chocolate ganache-filled chocolate cupcakes with whipped buttercream and sugar pearls
Here's where it gets fun, though. There are many unconventional opportunities to celebrate with cupcakes:

Returning home from military service

Caramel-filled chocolate cupcakes with three-toned vanilla buttercream

Becoming Canadian! Canada Day! Valentine's Day!

Chocolate cupcakes with vanilla whipped buttercream & sugar sprinkles
"New job in the oil sands" or "Home from Fort Mac"!

Vanilla oreo cupcakes topped with stabilized whipped cream, oreo cookie & crumbs
Staff parties. Potlucks. Graduations.

Chocolate chip cookie dough-filled chocolate cupcakes topped with whipped buttercream
Christmas parties. Halloween parties.

Gingerbread cupcakes topped with whipped vanilla buttercream & gingerbread boy
Now that we've got the party started with unconventional cupcake occasions, what's your occasion?  Who needs a special occasion for this beauty?

Caramel filled chocolate cupcake topped with salted caramel Swiss meringue buttercream & Snickers

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