Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Cake!

Starting last December I began making holiday cakes. They are mostly for display and to show what is possible. No matter the theme of your shower, a cake can almost assuredly be made to match. Of course, if you are going to be welcoming a baby the same month as a major holiday, that can always be the theme of a shower. Or a cake like this can be a holiday gift for a baby that is celebrating his or her first one. In any case, I couldn't skip Halloween as it is one of my favorite holidays, so here it is, my Halloween display cake.

In true form, similar to several of my other holiday cakes, this mini cake was a 2-tiered cake. I cheated a little when I built it, because I didn't actually use baby items to cover the tiers. I simply used cotton flannel fabric. Since this cake was for display purposes only, I didn't go through the trouble of making actual burp cloths, but in the event that someone wanted to order a similar cake, that is most likely what I'd do. Holiday apparel seems readily available, however, other baby items like burp cloths and blankets are not seen as frequently with holiday themes. Luckily, they can be made if the occasion calls (and you happen to be crafty enough, which, fortunately, I am). I kept it very simple with this one with the accents. I used some adorable candy corn ribbon for the tiers. I also added some white wash cloths, a pair of orange baby spoons, and finished it off with matching Jack-o-lantern hat and socks. I added some tissue paper to decorate and separate the tiers, but I'm not sure I would employ this method frequently since that would be the only part of the cake I'm a bit unsure about.

I really like how this cake turned out and I'm excited about future possibilities with this theme. I was tempted to make a couple different Halloween cakes, but I restrained myself. I look forward to more cakes where I can test my creativity. The seasonal ones are especially fun. I already have my next one ready to go! Keep checking back to see what I've come up with!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New and Improved Cloth Diaper Diaper Cake

I've once again ventured into the world of the rarely seen cloth diaper diaper cake. Not many people have explored this "green" option, but since I cloth diaper myself and know many other moms that cloth diaper as well, I see the need for this option. This time, I wanted to use flat fold diapers which proved to be easier than other types I have used in the past for cakes.

A flat fold diaper, or more colloquially known as a "flat" ("flats" for plural) is a diaper that is basically a large piece of absorbent fabric. They can be made with various materials and are folded for use (using one of many configurations) and secured with pins or other commercially available items for holding it in place. Because of their ease of care, they are very popular among cloth diapering moms, but for those that are unfamiliar with cloth diapering, they may be a cause for uncertainty or fear. They do however, come together quite nicely for a diaper cake.

I opted to create a boy diaper cake this time. Once again, this cake was purely for experimentation purposes. I selected 12 flat diapers (which I actually use a burp cloths) and got to work. This cake was built very similarly to how a towel cake might be built (another project I'd like to try my hand at some time). I created two tiers for this cake and was actually surprised at how small the cake was. It was about the same dimensions as my 2-tier mini cakes that I make which typically contain about 24 diapers and it fit on an 8" round cake board. I decorated the cake for pictures including spoons and socks and adding crinkle paper and ribbon.

The main idea for this cake was to see how it would come together using flats. It worked great and I'm glad to have made one so I have it under my belt should one ever be requested. I would much rather commit to doing something I've already done and make sure my customer is confident in my ability and on my part, I can create something that I'm proud to put my name on and sell.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sundae, Sundae, Sundae...

Once again, I've taken inspiration from others and I've created another small item for my product line. I've thought about making these for a while, but never got around to it until now. So, now introducing, the Sundae.

These cute little items are pretty basic. They are made with washcloths and baby bowls and utensils. It's a great little way to add flair to a shower and have your decorations be more than just decorative. Little items like this are great gifts for expectant moms because they are items she is sure to be able to use.

Sundaes are available in a wide combination of colors and can be made for girls, boys, or babies of unknown gender. I think they are cute and simple. I look forward to providing these for showers in the future!

Sunday, October 2, 2011


So, it's been a long time coming and it really was just a matter of me getting around to it. I finally created some "nice" lollipops. The ones I had made before were more for experimentation to see how it would all look and come together. Having boys, I tend towards blue when experimenting so I decided to make a set of pink lollipops.

The lollipops were a matched set of dark pink, light pink, and white in different pairs with soft tipped baby spoons. I prefer the look of these spoons to plastic spoons and they are much sturdier than the lollipop sticks I had experimented with in the past. These "candies" were made with washcloths, and while they could potentially be made with some other baby items which I may try in the future, I stuck with the basic. This set was wrapped in tulle, a look I prefer to cellophane which I've used in the past for my "candy." I took several pictures just playing around.

These were the first lollipops I made with the completed look that I'd expect for sale and should I get an order, they would look very  much like these. I think they are adorable and look forward to other additions to my "candy" collection.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

It's a Pooh cake!

Recently, I had my first order for a character cake. I was super excited when my friend first told me about the cake she was going to order and I started looking for items for it right away to plan out what I was going to do. Originally, she had requested Tigger, but it turned out that the cake was going to be Pooh and friends in general (which does make things a bit easier to find since Tigger items are usually accents to Pooh items). My friend also picked up several of the items to incorporate into the cake so that also made my job easier (as well as saving her a bit on the final cost of the cake). I received for the cake, blankets, toys, bath items, and washcloths. She pretty much provided me with the main things for the cake, I just needed to provide the diapers, decorations, building supplies, and labor. Easy, right?

The diapers the expectant mom wanted were a specific type of chlorine free diapers so I needed to find those at a specific location. After picking those up and gathering decorations, I was set to go. I started building the cake. This cake was done in my newer "spiral" style since these types of cakes seem to be becoming more popular, especially in situations where the diapers are visible. It was extremely difficult to pack all the diapers in that I wanted. This is definitely a limitation on diaper cakes where blankets are used since you are limited by the length of the blanket. After several tries, though, I managed to get them all wrapped and bound. The tiers were stacked and the blankets placed around each tier. There were four blankets in the set of pooh blankets. I selected the two matching ones to place on the top and bottom tiers. The middle tier held the green blanket (I was wanting to use blue ribbons and decorations since the expected baby was a boy) and I was left with a brown blanket. I originally wanted to hide the brown blanket in the middle of the cake, however, with as many diapers as I included in the middle, it just wasn't possible. I opted for a new and different approach to incorporate the blanket by fanning it out under the bottom of the cake. It hid the cake circle and gave a beautiful finished look at the bottom.

I added the washcloths, baby bath items, and toys using some new techniques I hadn't used before. I love the final look it gave the cake. The washcloths, for instance, were paired and tied with ribbon and finished with a bow. Rather than having a front center formed by the bows of the ribbon I wrap around the tiers like I do on most of my cakes, this one had items and decorations all around it since it would be used for a centerpiece. The toys and bath items were added around the cake to give visual appeal from all sides.

One thing I was really excited about with this cake was the additional Pooh decorations I had found. This was the first cake that I had ever done where I incorporated items (aside from the ribbon and crinkle paper) that was specifically for decoration. These items were Pooh figures cut out of board that I placed around the cake (in such a fashion that it did not render any items on the cake unusable. They definitely gave the cake a more finished look and filled in spaces that otherwise may have looked empty. I've only played with the idea of a "decorative cake" (one that does not include baby items, but rather is made with only diapers and decorations like ribbons, silk flowers, etc.) since I love the look, but worried about the value of "unusable decorations," but this cake benefited from the additions. Who knows, in the future, I may do this more often.

The final cake was definitely one that made me proud. I love how it looked in the end. This cake is definitely among my favorites that I have made. I'm glad to have found some new techniques for including items in the cake and I hope to constantly improve my methods. And the best part? Both my friend who ordered the cake and the expectant mom loved it! For what more could I ask?

At Project's End

I finally finished the shoes I have been working on. After difficulty figuring out the pattern and sizing, I achieved the correct size, as you know from my previous post. I completed the shoes in the requested material. These shoes were no ordinary shoes though.

Toddler shoes 6.5"
First pair of denim shoes I made
Aside from the smaller size which presents it's own challenges, the mom wanted the shoes made using denim. I had made another pair of shoes for this mom for her toddler also in denim (she wanted matching shoes for her boys). You may have seen the picture of the larger pair I made. The thing I failed to mention about these shoes was the sheer difficulty of using denim. The canvas that I typically use for the top of the shoes is pretty thick in it's own right, however, the top of the shoe isn't typically manipulated a lot. The heel portion, however, is much more difficult to manage. When using twill which is my regular material for the heel portion of the shoe, I have enough difficulty as 12 or so layers of material is a challenge for sewing machines, especially without the right needle (which needs to be super sharp and strong) or a top quality motor (otherwise I would have burned mine out a long time ago). The denim, however, it thicker than the canvas and probably should have killed my machine. Luckily, it didn't. I completed the shoes and they came out the same size as the practice shoes, which was great.

Baby shoes 4.25"
I did discover a potential problem, however. Because of the thickness of the material, the elastic casing is especially thick. A the ends where the material is stitched, folded over and stitched again (several times) it is so thick it actually narrows the amount of space on the inside if the shoe. The shoes then, became much more ideal for narrow or flat feet and they were actually difficult to try on my youngest who is about the same age as the baby that will be wearing the shoes. I do hope they work out though. I really want the mom to get what she wanted.

I have come to a conclusion, though. As much as it may upset some potential customers, I simply cannot make denim shoes again. The fact that I didn't burn out my sewing machine motor is a complete surprise to me. Denim really is too thick for the shoes. I do try to meet my customers' requests, but in this case, the mom benefitted from being a friend and my naïveté at how unsuitable denim is for this project. At least I know now and with continued experience in making these shoes, they are getting better and more consistent and I'm learning the nuances involved in their production.