Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Diaper Cakes with a Twist

With another friend expecting in August, I was lined up to make another diaper cake. This one however, had a different progression. I learned through a friend, that she and one of the hostesses for baby showers for this expectant mom were planning on making diaper cakes for her for her showers. This presented a little bit of a challenge for me. While diaper cakes are almost always welcome, I was a little worried about the novelty of the gift wearing out if mine was the third to be received. I felt I needed to do something a little different.

I developed a new concept for a diaper cake. This cake would be a sheet cake with a buggy topper. I started my search for supplies using the registry as I usually do. One of the items was actually a set of receiving blankets, two of which were the same pattern. This was vital for the cake as I'd need two  blankets for the surrounding decoration on the cake.

Hand rolled diapers provided the sheet cake. I was surprised at the number of diapers necessary to create the size of cake I was aiming for. Now, the cake didn't have the sharper corners I would have preferred to make it look closer to a real sheet cake, but it looked ok. I used two matching blankets for the edges of the cake and a third coordinating blanket for the top. The buggy was then formed to top the cake, using hand rolled diapers, a blanket, a burp cloth, and some wash cloths. Ribbons were then tied around the edges of both the buggy and the cake for embellishment. A pair of socks was added to the front of the buggy for an additional touch.  I used extra ribbon and tulle for the cake and kept it simple on the buggy topper.

I was really proud of how this cake turned out. It may not appear that way, but this cake took more supplies (at least 1 extra blanket and more diapers) than most of the others that I've made. This is a little unfortunate because for future purposes, it may carry a higher cost than more ornate diaper cakes. Aside from that, I was happy to be able to present a unique style of diaper cake as well as give items that were part of the registry. This made a fantastic eighth cake to add to my repertoire.

New Gift Ideas

After successfully making several diaper cakes, I decided to see if there were other things that I could make using the same concept. Many people may not need that large of a centerpiece or they may need a gift that isn't as costly as a large diaper cake. Using inspiration from Internet searches and gifts that others had made (I firmly believe imitation is the highest form of flattery), I created a few new gift ideas that I could make.

The first was a baby buggy. Now, the buggy that I developed is a little bit different than other's I've seen. I think it is a larger structure and maybe I'll look into a mini buggy, but for now, I'll make them as I have them. The core of the buggy is formed of hand rolled diapers. The internal structure is secured before adding the decorations so that it will stay intact. A decorative receiving blanket surrounds the outside of the buggy. A burp cloth or pre-fold cloth diaper creates a blank surface so the diapers are covered on the inside of the buggy. Wash cloths act as the baby blanket and cover the hood of the buggy. Ribbon is then tied for decoration. This pink girl buggy became my first inventory item for my baby boutique.

The second idea was bouquets. I've seen many variations and these gifts have a lot of options. In my bouquets I've incorporated hand rolled diapers to keep with the idea of diaper gifts. Many baby items can be used to create the "flowers." In this first small basket I put together, I used hand rolled diapers, wash cloths, and bath products. Curling ribbon adds a little bit of extra visual appeal. The basket is then embellished with ribbon and a bow. Inside the basket I used gift basket paper to help hold everything together. While not intentional, this bouquet ended up with a kind of bath theme with the wash cloths and bath products. This basket was primarily for practice. It was disassembled after the pictures were taken. I felt I needed the exercise my skill and wanted to have a visual of how it could look.

A third new concept is a candy dish. For this, various baby items are rolled or formed to create a piece of "candy" and wrapped in cellophane. The items are then placed in a shallow bowl, decorative tin, or large candy jar. I'm still working on developing this project and have only been moderately happy with the outcome of my first attempt at this gift. It does have great potential, so I am hopeful when I try it again.

I'm still pondering new creative ideas for diaper gifts and other baby gifts that I can incorporate into my boutique. I'll probably never stop looking for new ideas, it's just part of my nature.

Monday, August 30, 2010

In New Territory

My seventh diaper cake, similar to the one before, was assembled long before it was actually presented to the expectant mom. It did, however, make it to the mom before the sixth cake was given to the mom and unlike the previous cake, was given before the baby was born. Again, with this cake I entered into new territory.

The expectant mom for this cake was again for a mom that I'd never met. I had spoken with her once on the phone. My husband knew her husband and I had met him and talked to him on several occasions. They are a very nice couple. I started my search for items for the cake like I start most of my searches, with the baby registry. The registry helps me to identify items the expectant parents like; and, if I'm lucky, I can incorporate registry items into the cake as well rather than simply using their influence. This registry provided the perfect addition to the cake - two multipurpose waterproof pads. The pads, which I had never seen before were reusable, and roughly the size of a receiving blanket. These would be just the thing I'd need for my layers. I selected a rattle topper that matched the safari theme and with a few other items I was set.

Hand rolled diapers provided the base for the tiers of the cake. The multi-use pads were a bit harder to work with than receiving blankets or towels as they were much more structured and thicker. I did manage to make them work. Another new thing I did with this cake was use tulle and ribbon for the bow. The tulle provided its own  difficulties, but it fluffed up nicely. I had to add extra ribbon to balance out the extra fluff of the tulle. I attached teethers to this cake in the same manner as the previous one adding curling ribbon for an extra touch. The giraffe rattle topper worked perfectly with the safari pads and was easy to secure among the diapers of the top layer.

This cake had the most punch when it came to decorations by far. The decorative aspect is one I'm still working on. This cake could theoretically be a gender neutral cake, but with the blue ribbons and teether, the scale is slightly tipped towards a boy cake. I was lucky enough to receive an invitation to a shower for the expectant mom which allowed me to not only meet her, but bring the cake to her in person. Another diaper cake was at the shower, but it was set on a side table and unfortunately did not get the exposure it deserved. I suppose that allowed my cake to get a bit more attention when presented as the gift, so I'm not really complaining.

Matching Colors

As it turns out, another friend of mine was due with a baby in June. We may not live that far from each other, but her hectic schedule as a pediatrician makes getting in touch difficult and getting together even harder. Now, when I was up in Dallas over Christmas, my sister made a mention that she was pregnant (they were best friends in grade school), but I didn't think much of it and figured I'd hear it from her directly. We did finally get a chance to talk and she let me know she was expecting. She was about twenty weeks along! We really should do better about getting together.

I wasn't sure what direction to take with her cake, so I checked the registry and asked about her color choices for the baby room. She had selected turquoise and lime green with hints of tangerine. I was a little nervous about my ability to match this color scheme and set out to see what I could find. The first and easiest thing to find was the a lime green receiving blanket. As luck would have it, there was a coordinating white blanket with turquoise, lime, and tangerine spirals on it. I found some matching wash cloths and other accents and I was good to go. The ribbon for wrapping the cake was much easier to find as the color variety is much wider than on baby items.

I hand rolled the diapers and began assembling the cake. The receiving blankets were wrapped around the bottom and middle tiers and two wash cloths covered the top tier. I used two different sized ribbons to tie around the tiers using the colors she chose to pull it all together. The topper, a duck that hangs from the carrier handle, was secured in place by the hook. I added teethers (again, in matching colors) as final embellishments attaching them with coordinating curling ribbon. This was a new technique that I was trying out and I think it worked quite well.

This finished cake, I feel was my best to date. I really like the look of the additional ribbon and I feel it gives it the aesthetic boost that my previous cakes were lacking. Another difference is this cake was made with size 2 diapers. For the most part, it doesn't really make a difference, although, given the fact that it took so long to actually present this gift (the baby was about 8 weeks by that point) it worked out quite well.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Move Over Boys

Along with all of the other people I knew that were expecting, I kept finding out about more. A friend and former co-worker from the city I was living in before I got married was due in March 2010. I was so excited since she was having a girl. That meant I could test my skill at a girl cake!

Without knowing when I'd be able to visit or take the two hour trip to see her, I was still determined to create a cake for my friend. I focused on choosing the decorations for the cake and selected a set of polka-dot receiving blankets which I was sure she'd love... I hoped. I had a bit of trouble finding a topper for the cake, but finally landed on an adorable disposable diaper bag dispenser with a duck on it. It would be perfect and easy to mount on the top of the cake.

Hand rolled diapers made the tiers of the cake. The blankets surrounded each of the three layers of the cake. I incorporated travel bath products into the layers. The duck bag dispenser worked perfectly as the topper and hidden from view was actually a refill roll of bags in addition to the one pre-loaded into the dispenser. Polka-dot ribbon was tied around each of the layers and finished with a bow. Four pairs of socks finished out the decorations on the cake.

I was so happy with the finished cake, and I hoped that the expectant mom would like it as well. I did get an opportunity to go down to see her, in fact, I was invited to several showers and selected the one that worked best for my schedule. The shower theme was zebra and hot pink, a combination which the expectant mom loves. I only wish I had known that as I could have tried to make the cake match, but oh well. They had a beautiful 4-tier diaper cake as a centerpiece for the desert table that matched the theme perfectly, so she received at least one cake with this favorite combination of hers.

Since then, I want to say in the past couple of months she started her own business with a friend called Baby Kakes by BFF. They can be found on Facebook and are a College Station local business.

2-tiers for a Change

Shortly after moving into our new home, we learned that one of the neighbors was expecting. All I knew was that her baby was due at the end of December 2009. I received regular updates from her hubby about her condition as I, having recently been in the same position wanted to see how she was doing. I wanted to be neighborly, even though I'd never spoken to the expectant mom, and decided I'd make a cake for her. I did know she was expecting a boy.

Some time around January or February 2010, I heard news that she had the baby several weeks prior and decided I needed to get to work. I went ahead and gathered items for this diaper cake, boy socks, boy receiving blankets, etc. and planned it out. I was going for a sort of sporty look for this one even though there was no real theme to it.

I opted for new territory and made a 2-tier cake this time. Two striped receiving blankets covered the rolled diaper tiers. I chose a stuffed duck rattle for the topper. The topper did provide a bit of a challenge, as it didn't like to stay stable, but I finally figured out a way to keep it in place. Ribbon was wrapped around the layers and I finished it off with several pairs of socks. This cake was also shrink wrapped and tied with a bow for its final presentation.

I absolutely loved the striped receiving blankets which were purchased separately but coordinated beautifully. I also think that this cake was wrapped the smoothest of any that I'd made previously giving very clean finished lines. I was proud of the way this one turned out. As an added bonus, I finally got to meet the new mom and the new baby when I brought the cake to her and her husband!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My First Boy Cake - And It Comes With a Theme

My third cake proved to be a bit of a challenge. The mom-to-be was  friend from college that had thrown me one of my showers. She was expecting her second boy. The boy part isn't what got me. It was the fact that the baby was her second. Now, a lot of times showers are avoided altogether for a second baby, especially when it is the same gender as the first. But really, why turn down the opportunity to celebrate? Besides, every baby should be celebrated. Maybe it's just me.

In any case. It is a particular challenge for the second boy because I wanted to provide on the cake things that the mom would actually be able to use and items that were consumable. The diapers were obvious, but what else could I do? I settled on a bath themed cake because I figured bath products get used up. The problem was, those only ended up making up a small portion of the cake and I still had decorations to incorporate. So, maybe I was successful at duplicating some items she already had, but oh well.

So, again, rolled diapers created the tiers. Hooded towels were wrapped around the bottom and middle tiers. Two wash cloths made up the covering for the top tier. My topper was formed with three wash cloths, two blue and one yellow and tucked into a teether to resemble a flower. Yeah, it was for a boy, but hey, it was blue. Ribbon was tied around each of the layers. To finish off the cake and add some more color, I added three more wash cloths and of course, the essential bath products. The finished cake was, of course, shrink wrapped and tied it with a bow.

Over all, I think the cake looked great. I do wish I had been better at incorporating items that were consumable that maybe she wouldn't have left over to pass along from the older brother, but that's okay. With two boys, I hope she found use for all of the wash cloths!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Cake Number 2!

Not long after I created my first diaper cake, I had another to make. This one was for my brother and his wife who were expecting a baby in January. So, I put together a diaper cake for them and brought it with me when we traveled to the Dallas area for Christmas 2009.

I knew that my sister-in-law was planning to breastfeed, so I based this cake on that and decided to incorporate some items that are useful for breastfeeding like breast milk storage bottles, a microwavable steamer bag for sterilizing the bottles, and some lanolin - a must for breastfeeding moms.

They also decided to wait and be surprised as to the gender of the baby, so this cake had to be a gender neutral cake. I collected receiving blankets, burp cloths, and spoons to go along with the bottles and lanolin to create a feeding-time cake.

I rolled the diapers and started to stack the cake. This cake had receiving blankets on the bottom and middle tiers. A burp cloth covered the top tier. Two more burp cloths were draped on the middle and lower tiers. The bottles were added in place of some diapers within the tiers and positioned so they were visible - unfortunately, the bottles were wider than the diapers and made the cake a bit lopsided. I added baby spoons to the tiers and finished the tiers with ribbon. The tube of lanolin became my topper and the microwave steamer bag was hidden under the cake. The final touch was added by shrink wrapping the whole cake and tying the wrap with a bow.

I was happy with this cake; and (sorry to my BFF), I felt this turned out better than the first one. My only complaint is the misshapen appearance giving by the bottles. I think in the future incorporating bottles will have to be done differently. I have yet to add bottles to other cakes I have made, but this is largely due to cost. You wouldn't think it, but bottles can get expensive!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The adventure begins

"Way back" in June of 2009, I received my first diaper cakes as gifts at a baby shower that was thrown for me by my sisters. I received two cakes, one was a blue and brown 3-tiered cake and the other was a blue and white 3-tiered bath-time cake. I thought these were the cutest, most creative baby gifts I'd ever seen. I was hooked.

It wasn't until I got into making them more and more that I realized how popular they were, after all, I had only been to a handful of showers, but I'm learning that they are super popular now and there is an insane amount of competition when it comes to diaper cakes. There is hardly a shower these days that doesn't include a diaper cake somewhere. But I digress.

In any case, I had learned several months before my shower that my best friend (and the matron of honor at my wedding) was expecting as well. Her baby was due in December. After carefully taking apart the diaper cakes I had received, I figured I knew how to duplicate the process to make them myself. I had high hopes of making them for sale but I figured I'd start out making them as gifts for friends that were expecting to tweak any problems and build up my skills. My best bud would be the first guinea pig.

The first thing I did was check out her registry. After all, I figured that if I could use items on the registry to incorporate into the cake, that would make it all the easier; and, she'd receive things she had picked out. I still use this tactic. When shopping, however, I was a bit disappointed. I found it difficult to find many of the registry items at the stores, but thanks to the wonders of the internet, I was at least able to see the pictures on the store websites and I noted that she had selected many items with forest creatures and the color green. She knew she was having a girl and this was the theme she selected for the nursery. Super cute!

I tried to find alternate items that would at least coordinate with her color scheme and theme, selecting some booties, a hat, receiving blankets, and a sleep gown. I then started putting the cake together. I started rolling the diapers and securing them (at the time I used yarn, I've found curling ribbon works better). I used the cake board that I had received one of my cakes on as the base. The cake was stabilized up the center with a receiving blanket and the sleep gown, so unfortunately, those weren't visible on the finished cake. Receiving blankets provided a smooth "decorated" side to the bottom and middle tiers. The top tier held the hat and white satin ribbon was secured around the layers. Finally, the booties were added to finish the project.

I was happy with the end product and my friend seemed to really like the cake which makes it all the better. I've learned a few new tricks since then, but I believe it was a great start to this new endeavor of mine.


Welcome to my blog! Over the next several days, I'll post about the various baby gifts I've made that have become part of my repertoire for Beth's Baby Boutique. I'll add pictures so you can get an idea of what I've done and what is possible. I hope you will visit the website and see more pictures and get ideas for baby gifts you may want to order. Let me know if there is any way I can help: bethsbabyboutique@hotmail.com