Monday, September 20, 2010

My First Order (Part II)

So, now that I've kept you guessing, I can continue on with pictures and more information on the building of my first order (especially now that the sip 'n' see has passed and everyone that was there has hopefully now seen the diaper cakes).

I'll start with the bouquet. The bouquet created a bit of a challenge as I found that the materials I had did not in fact provide a lot of lavender to go along with the colors chosen for the sip 'n' see. I had black, white, and lavender tissue paper for decorating around the bouquet and created a lavender bow to decorate the vase. The "flowers" however, needed a bit of tweaking to go with the color scheme. I solved the problem adding lavender ribbon to the wash cloths and diapers to bring in the extra color so all but one of the flowers was not white. These all came together nicely in the beautiful vase I had selected. The bouquet included 2 wash cloths, 2 diapers, and 2 body suits.

As usual, the cakes started with hand-rolled diapers. Size 3 diapers were selected for this cake since the baby had been born and this provided the mom with some larger size diapers when the baby grew into them. The layers were sacked and the blankets and sheets were wrapped around the layers. The added bulk of the crib sheets meant that to give a better varied layered look, I had to remove some diapers from the top tier, but I left as many as I could so as not to sacrifice the value of the diapers in the diaper cake.

Adding the extra decorations proved a little bit difficult. First, the cakes needed to match. Second, since the cakes were going to be used as centerpieces, possibly at a table where people would be sitting, I needed to decorate them all the way around. While the other cakes I had made were decorated only on the front and immediate sides, this one needed more added touches. Add in the lack of lavender and white items I was able to find and it proved to be quite a challenge.

I improvised a bit and created my first ever hair clips to add to the decorations. These were made with ribbon that coordinated with the diaper cakes. I made four hair clips. 2 each of white ribbon with lavender flowers, and 2 each of black and white striped ribbon. They made a perfect addition to the cakes, allowed me to match the cakes and added to the other decorations.

Another decoration I selected for these cakes was wash cloths. I had seen the technique used on diaper cakes before, but only in pictures and never on an actual cake. The effect turned out quite nice, and I'm likely to use it again in the future. For these cakes, I used two rolled wash cloths which were strategically placed along the seam of the receiving blankets on the lower cake layers. This is how I was able to provide attractive views not matter the angle the party guests were coming from.

I added yet another new decoration to the cake. This one included sock "roses" that adorned the bottom and top layers of the cake. One sock from each pair was used on each cake so the cakes matched. Together, the new mom had a total of 8 pairs of socks. 7 were used as sock roses and the 8th pair was used as additional decorations on the sides of the cakes (one sock per cake). I had used sock roses before in one of the bouquets I had made, but never as a decoration on a cake, but I like the effect it provided.

The cake toppers stumped me since the party was a France/Paris theme, I really wanted to do Eiffel Towers on the tops, but I didn't know how I'd be able to pull it off. Finding Eiffel Tower figurines is not terribly difficult, but most would be too big or heavy to act as the toppers. I also considered doing a small bouquet of sock roses, but I had difficulty arranging them so they looked right. I finally found some paper art that could be printed out and put together and thus, I was able to create the toppers I wanted. It provided and economical and attractive addition to the cakes. I printed it out on card stock so it would be sturdy and then built them up for two 3-dimensional towers. I used a longer dowel rod in the center of the cake than I normally would for a 2-tier cake, but it provided the support for the toppers and with the help of some lavender tissue paper, the wooden rod was hidden from view.

As you can see in the sneak peak from my previous post (as well as here to the side) I also included some extra embellishments in the form of plastic decorative pacifiers on the bows. I typically like to use mostly usable items to decorate the diaper cakes, but used in moderation, these types of additions can really add to the "wow factor". Since I'm constantly trying to add more aesthetic value to my cakes, I am likely to continue using some of these types of small additions in the future.

I used so many new decorations and embellishments on these diaper cakes, that I almost feel like I've reached the end of my creative rope, but I'm hoping that is not the case. I like to think I'm just building my skills for newer projects and improving on what I've done in the past. In the end I was very proud of how the whole project turned out and the friend of mine that ordered them seemed to really like what I had done. I asked for some pictures of the cakes at the event so with any luck, I can post some to see how they worked in with all the other party decorations. I hope they were well received by the guests and especially the new mom.

Here is the entire "collection" - the two cakes and the bouquet.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My First Order (Part I)

Not long after I set up my Facebook page and completed my big baby bouquet I received my first ever order. And it wasn't just a simple cake. This was a big order. I was super excited.

A friend of mine was planning a sip 'n' see for mid September and wanted two 2-tier diaper cakes for a large table and a bouquet for the guest book table. She wanted the cakes to be a low enough height that they could be seen over. The theme for the party was a French/Paris theme with the colors lavender, black, and white.

I was so excited and instantly had my ideas for the cakes. All it boiled down to was whether or not I could find the materials. I wanted to use lavender receiving blankets for the layers and decorate the rest of the cakes with lavender and white baby items. Black would be incorporated with the decorative ribbon, as finding baby items that are black is a difficult task.

Little did I know that finding lavender baby items seemed almost as difficult. This confused me a bit, since when I think of baby girl items I automatically think of pink and purple, but to my surprise, it is harder to find a large number of purple items than I originally thought. Most can be found in various shades of pink, even teals and mint green, but rarely purple. After much searching, I was finally able to find items that worked for the cake including receiving blankets, crib sheets, pacifiers, wash cloths, and socks.

Building the cakes came with its own challenges. I'd never worked with crib sheets before. They are thicker and more flexible than receiving blankets so it is a bit more difficult to give that smooth finished appearance that the blankets provide. Also, I needed to make both cakes the same, so balancing decorations and paying close attention to detail was a must.

I'll give more detail and provide many more pictures in the second part of my description of my first order, but for now, here's a bit of a teaser. A glimpse of part of the finished product:

Friday, September 3, 2010

A New Kind of Bouquet

With yet another expectant mom among my friends, I had another project ahead of me. I was asked to make a centerpiece for her shower and I was happy to oblige. This time, however, I decided that rather than make a diaper cake, I'd make a bouquet to go with the theme of the shower which was roses to welcome the baby whose middle name was to be Rosalinda.

I wanted to make a large bouquet as it was to be a centerpiece. I was excited to pick out some girl items (this was my second diaper gift for a girl) selecting purple, pink, and white socks to make roses, as well as purchasing diapers and wash cloths to make additional flowers.

To assist with the size of the bouquet and to add value, I decided the basket would be made of diapers rather than just purchasing a basket. I hand rolled the diapers and wove them together with pink ribbon to form a ring. I used a cake board as the base. I lined the inside of the basket with tissue paper, opting for purple to counter balance the pink ribbon in the basket, and then filled the inside with shredded paper in several shades of purple and pink and white. I then pieced together the bouquet of "flowers". With 6 pairs of socks, 6 wash cloths, and about 9 diapers (not counting the basket) the bouquet was rather large. During the process of building this bouquet, I did have to go through a little bit of trial and error to get the look just right. The diaper "flowers" had curling ribbon to spruce them up a bit and green ribbon was tied to the "stems" of several of the other "flowers" to give the appearance of leaves. The extra embellishments were well worth it, but I think they may have gone unnoticed because of the size of the bouquet and the presence of the tissue paper - basic visibility problems.

In the end, I was happy with the final result. I think if I repeat this concept of the diaper basket, I may make some alterations, but otherwise I was pleased. The expectant mom seemed to like it, so that is what matters in the end.