Monday, December 3, 2012

Vintage Rose Garden

I was contacted by a potential customer that was looking for a vintage garden themed cake. She requested pink and mint green as the colors. She also was interested if I could incorporate ballet slippers into the cake as well. Over all, she wanted a clean look for the cake.

I set to work on a "naked cake" (one without blankets). I added lace detailing to a couple of the layers to bring in the "vintage" part of the theme. I added several washcloth roses as both decorations on the tiers and for the topper of the cake. I love incorporating washcloth flowers because I think they add an elegant look to very basic baby necessities. Best of all, they are completely usable once disassembled.

The ballet slippers were a bit more challenging. As far as I knew, baby ballet slippers did not exist. If they did, they eluded me. I looked for decorative ballet slippers that could be added to the cake that perhaps could function simply for aesthetic purposes, but I only found a few ballet slipper items (stickers and whatnot) and nothing that was impressive enough that could go with the cake. Since the alternate was baby booties if I couldn't do ballet slippers, I opted to seek out patterns for baby booties. I came across an adorable pattern for some booties. I decided that I could make them up and with some added ribbon that could be tightened to secure the booty on the baby's foot and double as a decorative bow, I could achieve the ballet slipper look. I made a sample pair and then two to go with the diaper cake.

 The final cake was an elegant clean cake. I love the look and how simple it is. Of course, as with all my cakes, an expectant mama could not only have a beautiful centerpiece at a shower, but all the baby items on the cake are completely usable, making it a fantastic gift for any new mama!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Crochet for the Holidays

One of my customers of my boob beanies showed me a picture of an adorable newborn pirate hat that she had seen and wondered if I could make something like it. She wanted it for Halloween for her 7 week old. I told her that I probably could if I had a pattern. I didn't concretely say that I would do it - I didn't want to make a promise I couldn't keep. I went in search of a pattern, because really, who can resist and adorable baby dressed up as a pirate?

I collected a couple patterns, including the one from the picture she showed me. I went to work using the pattern from the picture and decided I'd use the other one as a back-up depending on how the first turned out. Sadly, I didn't have the materials I needed. I didn't have the right yarn or the right crochet hook. Being me, I just made-do with what I had and decided I'd see how it came out and fix any problems I encountered as I encountered them. And I did encounter them. The first hat I made was adorable. And tiny. Really tiny. It figures considering my crochet hook was too small. And my yarn too narrow. Fair enough, I decided I'd adjust the pattern and make it larger - which came with it's own set of challenges. This worked well and the hat came out adorable, and after fiddling with and altering the pattern for the Jolly Roger logo, I had a super cute hat. For a tiny baby. Like, newborn tiny. Maybe preemie. Or a doll. I thought it might fit since my boys were able to wear some newborn items until they were about 8 weeks old. Not the case here. Once again, I adjusted the pattern and enlarged it (again, with more challenges) and completed a super cute pirate hat that was much more suited for a 0-3 mo baby. I pushed it a bit close to Halloween, but my customer had it in time and all worked out well.

Inspired by the pirate hat, I decided to create an adorable pumpkin hat too. I had saved the pattern quite some time ago, like over a year. I decided I couldn't keep staring at it hoping for a reason to make it, so I just made it. Fortunately, I didn't have to alter the pattern much for this one and managed to get it right the first time. So super cute! This particular pattern lends itself to extending quite well, so adjusting for larger sizes is much easier than with the pirate hat.

I'm so excited about these adorable additions to my repertoire. I'm looking forward to more for future holidays. Now to find some winter patterns!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Craft Fair 2012 Prep (Part 1)

October 2012 was a busy month for me with orders, personal gifts, and preparation for the upcoming craft fair that I do every year. Since most of my gifts are custom orders, I tend to not make a bunch ahead of time, so right before the craft fair, I'm typically rushing to get some cakes made up so I have something to offer at the sale.

The biggest project was replacing some inventory. I like to make sure to have a girl, boy, and gender neutral cake in 3-tier and 2-tier so that potential customers can see the variations and have options to choose from. I also like to have one each of baby buggies as well. In late September/early October, my main focus was on the diaper cakes. Since I had other cakes I was making at the time, I decided I'd also take advantage of photo opportunities before all the cakes were wrapped.

The updated duck cake
The original duck cake
My first project was to update a cake that I decided needed improvement. The cake was a gender neutral duck cake I had made for last year's show. I absolutely love the duck theme, but I felt that something was missing - namely a duck topper. At the time I made it, I didn't have an appropriate topper so I made-do with a hat that I had. I'd been toying with the idea of unwrapping the cake and adding a plush duck for a while and when I came across some super cute ducks at a store, I grabbed the opportunity. And the duck. I "fixed" the cake, adding the duck, moving around some of the baby items, and securing the ribbon that apparently had come loose.

Girl geometric cake
The second project was to create a 2-tier girl cake. For this cake, I chose some geometric blankets that I had and built the cake. For this cake, there wasn't an overall theme other than just being a girl cake which makes it extremely versatile. I added several baby items to decorate the tiers including a handmade pink bow hair clip. For this cake, I didn't add a topper, but decorated with paper shred. I don't necessarily think all cakes need a topper, but I think using a baby hat was a poor choice on my part for the previous cake. This one looked great "as is."

After working on those cakes, I placed them with some of the other cakes I had been working on recently that had not been wrapped. I don't often have multiple unwrapped cakes available, so this was a great opportunity for a photo session since cakes tend to photograph better without the wrapping. I took several shots and while I'm not sure where I'm going to use them (with the exception of here), but I have them for future purposes.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Another Super Cute Frog Cake!

When I found out that some high school friends were expecting a baby I was so incredibly thrilled for them. This was one shower I wasn't going to miss. I wanted to make an especially adorable diaper cake (of course, I think almost all my diaper cakes are especially adorable).

Inspired by a crib sheet that they had picked out on the registry, I got to work making a frog cake, one of my most favorite diaper cake themes. Though the crib sheet and some coordinating blankets that I added were technically gender-neutral, I made sure to add some blue elements into the green and yellow cake since my friends knew that they were going to have a boy. Washcloths, baby spoons, socks, and a super adorable plush frog completed the decorations on the cake. Of course, I also had to add a handmade crocheted baby beanie too.

I absolutely loved the final look of this cake. It made the perfect gift for my friends and earned a lot of oohs and ahhs at the baby shower. Most importantly, of course, the expectant mama really liked the cake and that's really my goal with every diaper cake and baby gift that I make.

About to Pop!

And expectant mama contacted me about a diaper cake that she wanted me to make for her shower. Her shower had an "about to pop" theme. She was planning on using the colors hot pink, orange, and yellow and incorporating as many "pop" things as she could including lollipops and popcorn. The challenge was to make a coordinating diaper cake to go along with the theme and color scheme. As with all themes presented to me, this was a challenge that I wanted to meet.

For this cake given a slightly smaller budget and lack of available appropriate baby items, I chose to do a "naked" cake. I knew right away that I wanted to incorporate baby washcloths formed into lollipops as that would meld well with the theme. I used to washcloths in coordinating colors to go with the scheme and created a topper and added several as decoration on the sides of the tiers. They cake still seem to be missing something, and I really wanted to find a way to incorporate popcorn into the cake as this was something specific the mom had mentioned to add to her "about to pop" theme. After a lot of brainstorming I came up with an incredibly adorable idea that made the perfect accent to the cake. I developed miniature card stock popcorn containers that I attached along the middle tier of the cake. Yellow curling ribbon was then curled and places into the boxes to create the look of popcorn. Rather then finish off this cake with paper shred like I do many of my cakes I chose to use hot pink, orange, and yellow curling ribbon to decorate the tops of the tiers.

The final cake was truly a masterpiece. Once again, I found myself having a difficult time deciding if this or one of my other cakes was truly my favorite. The theme could not have been matched better. My customer loved the cake, and it created a perfect centerpiece for her baby shower decorations.

Another Baby Cake...

The time had come for another shower among my mom group and that meant making another baby cake since the expectant mom was a cloth diapering mom. This time around, I got to try my hand at a project (or several) for a little girl. Ever in search of new ways to use my skills and new items to add to my product line, I decided to make a tagged lovey for this mama - or her baby, rather. I set out to begin my nursery set which would be formed into a baby cake similar to others I'd made for cloth diapering mamas.

The base of the cake was a set of 3 taggy blocks similar to ones I'd made for other baby cakes seen here. I used cotton flannel in various shades of purple (a color requested by the mom) and super cuddly purple material on some panels to add extra texture. My next project was outer wrappings for the cake like how I add blankets to some of my diaper cakes. For this cake, I created the tagged lovey, a small blanket with ribbon tags added for sensory stimulation. Loveys make great gifts since babies can carry them around as a security items without dragging a large blanket with them, and of course, babies love tags! I used the same flannel material that I used for the tagged blocks and the matching super cuddly purple material for the backing of the lovey. My next project was coordinating burp cloths using the same flannel I'd used in the previous projects.

With the items for the main cakes structure completed, I then went on to make the added decorations for the cake. I adjusted the basic beanie pattern that I often use to create an adorable scalloped hat with some open rows, a popular design these days that is often paired with flower or bow hair clips. Other items I added to the cake for decoration included lavender washcloth daisies, a pair of socks, and a handmade purple ribbon bow.

The final cake was beautiful. It was a lot of purple. The mama really enjoyed it and that is what's most important!

Chocolate, Blue, and Puppies!

I was contacted by a woman that was interested in a very short order. As in the next day. Yikes! Sadly, I got her e-mail at the end of the day and was able to reply and get a response fairly quickly, but with limited information - only the colors blue and chocolate. Fortunately, I had an idea right away. I had an adorable set of blue blankets with puppies on them so I decided to use these as the foundation for the diaper cake.

I got to work on a three tier cake, building it with my spiral design that I've switched to for the majority of my projects. I added the blankets and some coordinating white and chocolate ribbon. I finished the cake with a lot of blue baby items including a handmade crocheted baby beanie. I would have liked to add a plush puppy topper, but since this was a rush order, I didn't have time to get a stuffed animal for it. I really liked the finished project even without a topper for the cake.

Unfortunately, I didn't hear back from my customer, even after I finished the cake and sent her a picture. I suppose it was too late. I'm not really sure what happened. I just ended up with an additional cake in inventory. At this point (as of November 2012), I'm still offering the cake for sale. I can always add the puppy topper if requested which I feel would really finish off the cake.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Introducing Towel Cakes!

One item that I seen starting to pop up is towel cakes. For quite some time now I've been interested in making them but haven't really had the opportunity to try it. My favorite gift to give it wedding is towels and this is most commonly where you see towel cakes given, but I don't seem to have too many friends planning their nuptials these days. There are, however, other opportunities and recently I found one where I could try my hand at it. A friend of mine just recently found out that she was pregnant, so, I decided I would make her a little spa gift to help to pamper herself and find ways to try to relax and feel better in early stages of pregnancy. Thus, I developed my very first towel cake.

I started out trying to nonchalantly probe her with questions regarding her bathroom. I wanted to make sure that the towels I chose would at least coordinate with her current color palette. After succeeding in my task, I began to gather items that I felt would be good to help an expectant mama relax and pamper herself. A jar of coconut oil became the main structure for the the cake. Coconut oil is commonly used as a skin moisturizer (among other things) and used by some as an alternate to cocoa butter to help with stretch marks. This was the personal choice for my friend so that's what I decided to use for the cake. I then began forming the rest of the cake with various sized towels and wash cloths that coordinated with her bathroom. The other touches added to the cake were some LED flame-less tea lights, some morning sickness herbal tea, and a bath pouf.

The cake turned out adorable. It was basic with a very clean look to it. I would love the opportunity to make some more cakes similar to this one as it was such a joy to make. It also was a fantastic surprise to my friend who was really feeling the negative effects of the early stages of pregnancy. Similar cakes could contain any number of other spa products that an expectant mama may like. The options for personalization of this type of cake are endless just as they are with diaper cakes. I can't wait for my next towel cake opportunity!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Naked Cake!

One of the things I always prided myself in when making my cakes was the number of baby items I included in the cakes. I always used blankets or towels (or something similar) and added toys, wash cloths, utensils, etc. to accent and decorate the cake. I loved providing a beautiful cake where my customer could appreciate the value included. I never considered making a cake with no blankets. I figured I could if someone asked, but my default was to always have a covering for the diapers. And then I got that request.

My customer wanted a cake that was simple and clean. She wanted baby blue accents but nothing flashy or too showy, so a "naked" cake was just the thing she needed. We had some discussions back and forth and she had a picture of a cake she liked.

I have to admit, I was a bit nervous. After all, to have the diapers exposed meant that special care was needed. The diapers selected needed to be white, or at least the color on them needed to be easily concealed. When building the cake, I needed to be sure the spacing of the diapers was even - this is a lot harder than it sounds. In my opinion, a spiral style cake looks great for a "naked" cake, so that's the style I did (although, regardless of this, I'm moving more toward that style in most cases anyway). For this cake, I also wanted to go big, so I opted for a 4-tier cake. The nice thing about not having a large quantity of baby items, blankets, and accents is that price-wise, you can often trade up for a bigger cake. I found some baby blue ribbon and accents including wash cloths, baby spoons, and baby powder to complete the cake. I finished it off with a large looped bow on the top and several smaller bows applied to the ribbon around the cake. A previous cake I had done included lettering of the baby's name which my customer loved and wanted incorporated into this cake as well. Finding the letters that coordinated was no small task, but I made it work.

In the end, I actually love the final look of the cake. I have to admit, I've always been slightly prejudice against "naked" cakes, but I find that this one quickly became one of my favorites. There is a lot to be said for the simplicity and clean look of the cake. It certainly is one I'm proud to brag about and it definitely raises my confidence in my ability to create a cake that I feel is so exposed (as in, you can't hide and defects in "craftsmanship"). Of course though, and most importantly, my customer loved the cake, and that is what I feel truly makes it a successful venture.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Choo-choo - Take Two

The original train cake with
bold blues that matched the
shower colors as well as the
 bouquet and candies that
completed the set.
Not long ago I was contacted by women who was looking for a basic boy diaper cake. She sent me a picture of a simple cake with a large bow on top. She asked me if I was able to make a cake similar to this. I let her know that I could certainly make a cake for her and I suggested that she check out some of the pictures on my Facebook page to see if any of the cakes that I had made previously struck her fancy. She responded that she really liked the train cake I had made previously (as well as a currently stocked buggy); but, she requested a few modifications. We were both very fortunate that the primary baby items included in that previous cake were still available so I was able to create a similar gift.

Adapted train cake with bow topper and
softer color tones.
The biggest difference in the cake that I made and the one that she wanted was that she didn't care for the paper shred. This, of course, was easy enough to remove from the design of the cake. The biggest challenge in that case was finding something appropriate to do for the top of the cake. I borrowed from the picture she had sent me previously and opted to add a large bow rather than the shred for the top of the cake. Another change for this cake was that I used basic baby blue and white for the primary colors of the cake. The original train cake included a lot of different shades of blue which was by request of the person who ordered it. For this cake she wanted very basic baby blues, colors that are very traditional for boy showers.

Car buggy with softer color tones
that compliment the train cake.and
create a cohesive "vehicle" theme.
I love that this cake not only demonstrates my ability to re-create cakes I've done in the past; but also that I am able to tweak the cakes for my customers' individual tastes. This cake turned out adorable and fortunately coordinated quite well with the car buggy that the customer requested to purchase as well. Of course, the best part of the whole project was that my customer loved the gifts that she purchased.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hippo Trike

A friend of mine was expecting a little girl, so, of course, I was going to make her diaper cake. I was a little concerned that she may have already had a diaper cake for the shower so I decided to make something a little different. Because I wanted a little more practice making motorcycles and tricycles I decided I will go ahead and make her a trike.

Diapers make up the wheels of the trike. The structure is put together with receiving blankets. I selected a few blankets that she had chosen for her registry. I then added some baby wash cloths, some diaper cream, and other baby items. To ride the trike, I added a pink, super soft, stuffed hippo.

The trike turned out super adorable. I did have a few problems with some items not staying in place, so in the future I may need to make more of an effort to secure them better. I think this boils down to me not having a specific set formula for my trikes. I like to incorporate different items that aren't on the typical trike and make some substitutions to add variety and personalize it a little bit more. This means that in putting it together, some adjustments need to be made to make sure it stays secure. Regardless, it came out really cute and I am happy with the final product. My friend seemed thoroughly overjoyed by it too. I can't wait for more opportunities to make these adorable diaper cakes.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

4 Tiers!

I am so excited to present my first 4-tier cake! This cake was a custom order with a request for a nautical theme. I was super excited about this project since new themes are always fun for me. It turned out to be more difficult than I anticipated and I ended up going in a slightly different direction than I thought.

When I first started considering nautical ideas, I thought I might do a red and blue cake. I had seen a number of baby items in those colors and that is what I prepared for. This was apparently not to be. When I actually went in search of nautical items, it turns out that green and blue were the favored colors. Fortunately, I was able to work with that just as easily.

The "center" of the cake decorations was an adorable nautical crib sheet that I found. The rest of the cake was inspired by this. Three receiving blankets were matched with this in various blue, green, and white designs. The sheet and the blankets became the decorations for the tiers. I added a sailboat teether and some sailboat bodysuits along with color coordinated washcloths. This cake also had a few new features. The first new item was some sailboat "decals" which were added strategically around the cake. I also added the name of the expected baby "Terry" on the front of the cake and "ahoy" on the back of the cake in foam lettering. Incorporating the name was a request of my customer.

The cake came out wonderfully with clean lines and a unified theme. Best of all, of course, my customer was pleased with the cake. That's always my goal.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Stepping it up

For quite some time now, I've been wanting to add a bit of extra "umph" to my Noah Shoes. While I'm still looking into options for different styles, I first wanted to start small and make sure I had a quality product under my belt before expanding. Now that I feel I've got the shoes themselves relatively consistent, I wanted to add something. Lucky for little girls, ideas to dress up their shoes are easy to come by.

When I was approached for a review of my shoes from Renewable Mommy I thought this was the perfect opportunity to make an adorable pair of shoes for her to review. Not long ago, I had found some adorable material that I couldn't pass up for little girl shoes so I chose this material for the review and dressed the shoes up with some satin ribbon and a bow (sewn and secured so it wouldn't come undone).

Black, White, Red Flowered Shoes with Ribbon Embellishment

This pair was also part of the review
found on Renewable Mommy's blog
I love how the shoes came out and I received a glowing review on the blog. They are perfect and girly and everything I imagined they would be. I look forward to additional embellishments on shoes in the future as it's my next step before I move into new styles. Keep looking out for changes, updates, and new options available! And certainly, don't be afraid to ask if I can try something in particular. Sometimes, all I need is for the opportunity to present itself and I'm up to new challenges!

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Little Spacey

When a friend and neighbor showed me some of the blankets and nursery accents she was working on for her newest baby on the way, the wheels started turning. Of course, I had to make a diaper cake for her and being sneaky like I am, I made a point to take note of the theme she was going with - outer space.

I daresay, I thought the project to create an outer space diaper cake was going to be much simpler, or perhaps, it's just the way I work, but the whole project took much more time than I anticipated and sadly, it was delivered after the baby was born. At least it wasn't so late that she couldn't use the diapers.

To coordinate the theme, I decided to make a baby quilt with space printed fabric. I'm still new to quilting, but I wanted to do this right, so I planned it all ahead and went to work. No complicated shapes, just squares and strips, and I think for my second true quilt (not counting the rag quilts I'd made for previous gifts) this one came out great, especially since it was my first time designing one and not following anyone else's instructions! I even managed to have the finished project the size I was going for (40"x40"). In the end it was an adorable quilt made of cotton print with super low loft poly/cotton batting, making it a nice light quilt for a summer baby.

Of course, for a whole diaper cake, I needed a few more items to go around the tiers, so I created some coordinating burp cloths. Two were solid colored in a turquoise flannel that matched the quilt. I then made a third burp cloth with bright orange flannel that coordinated with the quilt and accented it on one end with the cotton space print material used in the quilt. The burp cloths were great, but unfortunately they weren't enough on their own and I needed one more item for the cake.

I decided to try a brand new project and make a pair of cotton pants with some of the matching cotton material. I found a pattern for newborn pants and got to work. The main part of the pants were made with the space print cotton fabric. I added extra thick cuffs at the bottom of the pants using the turquoise material from the quilt so that the ends could be rolled to adjust for length. I love how they turned out. It's hard to imagine a baby that small, but they fit the new baby great.

With all of these items together, it created my third "Nursery Set." Nursery Sets are basically a collection of coordinated baby items that can be created and then either gifted as the set itself or they can be incorporated into a cake to make a themed diaper cake. Previous nursery sets can be seen here where I created two rag quilt nursery sets for cloth diapering mamas. This complete set included one quilt, three burp cloths and a pair of newborn pants.

With all the items completed, I was able to begin work on the cake. the quilt became the decoration for the bottom tier. The middle tier held the two turquoise burp cloths and the pants and third embellished burp cloth adorned the top tier. Additional goodies were added to the cake including a pair of socks, teethers, and washcloths. As a final touch, I placed a rattle on the top of the cake and I love how it looks "spacey" and the colors match wonderfully. I don't think I could have picked a better cake topper. Of course, the best part of the whole thing was that the mom liked the diaper cake and was especially excited that it was spaced themed, just as she selected for the nursery.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Jungle Fever

Jungle themes in baby rooms are incredibly popular. As a result, I've created a number of diaper cakes and other gifts with jungle themes. I personally love them and can't wait for the opportunity to make more! I recently had an order for a buggy with a jungle theme.

For this buggy, I was hoping to make the design a bit more "mom friendly" as my traditional design incorporates rolled diapers which can be tedious to take apart for use. Fortunately, the buggies contain a modest enough number of diapers to ease the task a bit. In any case, I managed to create this buggy with a minimal number of rolled diapers and achieved a similar enough effect. The outer "basket" portion of the buggy was adorned with a jungle print crib sheet that matched items on the mom's registry. Washcloths from the registry were used to complete the hood and blanket of the buggy. Several additional washcloths were hidden within the buggy to improve the overall shape that was lost due to the alteration in design. Two pacifiers were added inside the buggy, also chosen from the registry. As a final touch, giraffe print ribbon and a washcloth flower were added.

For more ideas about jungle, jungle related, and animal themes, check out my posts on these baby gifts:

2-tier Giraffe Safari Cake
2-tier Lion Safari Cake
Jungle/Safari Taggy Blocks
Jungle/Safari Burp Cloths
3-tier Monkey/Flower Cake
2-tier Giraffe Print Diaper-free Baby Cake
3-tier Monkey Cake
Monkey Tricycle

As I mentioned, I'm excited about more jungle themes in the future and can't wait to see what challenges are presented to me.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Shower Sets

One fantastic thing about baby diaper gifts is the ability to make many different items. This versatility lends itself to so many incredible options. Because of those options, it becomes possible to decorate for a shower using several different types of diaper and baby gifts that can be coordinated to match almost any theme imaginable and give a unified look to your shower as well as providing the mom to be with some baby essentials.

I was recently approached for my second shower set (the first being my Paris set that can be seen here and here). For this set, the request was for items in various shades of blue. Fortunately, the expectant mom registered for a number of items that could be coordinated and included in the set. This set contained a bouquet, baby candy, and a diaper cake.

The bouquet was a mini bouquet. It was formed of washcloths into roses of various blues to match the color scheme requested. Six "flowers" were arranged in a small dark basket, the presentation selected by my customer.

Washcloth candy was also part of the set. For this collection, my customer requested a combination of roll and disc candy. She receive one of each shape in four different colors also matching the overall scheme.

The 3-tier diaper cake was built of diapers in my newer spiral style. Hooded towels adorned with trains created the outer decoration for the bottom and middle tiers. Coordinating burp cloths were then used to cover the top tier and add additional decorations. Also included on this cake, were pacifiers, washcloths, socks and a teether toy. As mentioned previously, many of the items included on the cake were from the expectant mom's registry which make for a great gift since she selected the items. The cake was finished with ribbons and paper shred in various shades of blue and white.

The full set had a unified look with coordinating colors in shades of blue with white and green as accent colors. I truly loved the opportunity to create a group of matched gifts and I hope in the future to receive more orders such as this where my gifts are used as decorations for different areas of a shower.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Camo Cake!

My husband's cousin was planning a shower coming up and really wanted a diaper cake. This cake presented a number of challenges, but it was seriously a joy to make.

First on my list of challenges and probably the biggest factor that lead to difficulty was the time table. I had a very short amount of time to get the cake built and to the recipient. Adding to the challenge was the need to ship the cake. I already had the shortened time constraints and I needed to ship my first cake. Fortunately, it was in the same state, albeit the largest continental state, but the same state nonetheless. Third, the theme was a bit of a challenge. Given a bit more time, I may have been able to incorporate the theme a bit better, however, I think it was still successful in the end.

The theme request was for a pink camouflage cake. Pink camo is really in these days, but I did have difficulty finding baby items. The ones I did find, I didn't have time to order, so I was left with what I could find locally, which much to my dismay, was not much. It would figure that much more recently I've seen many pink camouflage things that I could have used had they been available at the time. But I digress...

In any case, the cake started as many others, stacked three tiers high. I used pink and white basic designed blankets for the tiers so as not to distract from the overall camo theme. I then added pacifiers and teethers in different shades of pink to go along with the overall theme. The main item that maintained the theme for the cake was some adorable pink camouflage ribbon that I found. Paired with a darker pink ribbon it really set the tone for the whole cake. As an added little gift to my husband's cousin, I added a pink crocheted baby beanie that was made from a cotton yarn in various shades of pink. The beanie matched the cake wonderfully.

Despite the time constraints, I managed to complete the cake in record time and get it shipped out where it arrived in time for the shower. The recipient loved the cake, which is what I'm going for in most cases. I'm glad that I can complete some orders so quickly. It really is the exception rather than the norm, but when push comes to shove, I really try to do what I can to appease my customers. After all, without them, I can't do what I do.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Luck o' the Irish

This year, I made my second St. Patrick's Day cake. Similar to most of my holiday cakes, this one was a mini cake made for display only.

This year's St. Patty's day cake started as many of the others do containing 24 diapers and stacked in to two tiers. A green receiving blanket and one burp cloth/pre-fold diaper covered the tiers. Green washcloths were added as well. I then added a few touches to bring in the holiday spirit. On the front of the cake, I added a handmade crocheted four-leaf clover hair clip. The cake also features shamrock ribbon on each of the tiers.

I love that this cake, while obviously a holiday cake, includes items that are not specifically holiday related. It is a perfect demonstration of how simply decorating the cake can represent a theme even if the individual items on the cake do not. with the exception of the hair clip, this cake is entirely gender neutral and the baby items includes are appropriate for use all year long.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Repeating designs

Many diaper cake makers are adept at creating a design that can be repeated or they stock up on supplies and are able to make several cakes of a single design. Up until recently, that wasn't something I had ever done. Since most of my cakes are made individually and items are often purchased specifically for each cake, repeating designs is dependent on available items at a later date. In most cases, there really isn't an issue. Making custom cakes has served me well and it means that expectant moms are sure to receive a unique gift.

But what if a customer wants a design I've made before? Or what if a design is popular and a customer wants something similar, if not necessarily the same thing? I never gave it much thought until I was contacted by a woman who really liked my cupcake cake, but wanted it in different colors.

The original chocolate and
pink cupcake diaper cake
When I first received the request, I was a bit worried. The colors selected for the original cake corresponded with the colors in the cupcake blanket which was the base of my design. Chocolate and pink seemed to go with the blankets naturally, so those are the colors I selected for the cake. This new request was for pink and lavender. After a bit of brainstorming, I discovered a way to repeat a similar design while meeting the request for the alternate colors.

Lavender was incorporated
into decorations on the cake
While the colors for the cupcake blanket were fixed, I did have options where I accented the cake with decorations. The basic design of the cake was easy enough to repeat adding the cupcakes on the large tier and a cupcake for the topper, all made with usable baby items, of course. By using socks for the smaller cupcakes, I was able to incorporate lavender and pink. The large cupcake topper also had lavender from washcloths. By adding lavender and pink ribbon to decorate the tiers, I was able to unify the overall look of the cake. I also had a new method for applying the pom pom "cherries" to this cake without having to worry about glue or pins, a challenge I had with the original cake.

The end product came out great and my customer loved it. The door is certainly open for possibly repeating or adapting designs in the future. I certainly am more open to it now that I've done it once. Certainly, not all can be adapted, but some can and it's exciting to see the possibilities!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Crochet, crochet

Because I don't have enough to do (that's sarcasm by the way), I've been picking up random crochet projects. The thing I like about crochet is that you can sit and crochet while watching TV so it sort of gives you a sense of being productive while vegging. At least that's what I tell myself.

I started to crochet baby items to incorporate into my diaper cakes starting with a harvest baby cake I made in November. I was searching for a way to add decorative accents that would also double as functional baby items, but that's difficult to do when you have a harvest theme, so I came up with crochet plush squashes and gourds which then become soft play food for children. Not long after that, I had an order for a geek cake where finding baby items to go along with this theme was next to impossible, so I crocheted a stuffed critter topper for that cake as well. Then in January, I wanted to add more accents to my nursery set baby cakes so I crocheted some baby beanies and flower hair clips. Before I realized it, I had a whole set of new baby items that could be added to my product line.

While most of the first crocheted items I created were intended as accents to diaper cakes, that didn't mean that was the only option. Many items can be stand alone if a diaper cake isn't appropriate or if the expectant mama will already be receiving another one. I started thinking of all the additional things I could make and offer.
Among the new items I decided to come up with was more crocheted food. Kids and toddlers love to play kitchen and soft play food makes a great gift (especially in my house where items like that have a tendency to become airborne). I started developing my own patterns for a collection of vegetables and a matching market bag. After creating the first set, it was given as a gift for a first birthday present. The kiddo loved it!

It doesn't end there. I have since made many more hair clips, including a four-leaf clover for St. Patrick's Day and more beanie hats. I also have plans for a set of fruit to go along with the play food offerings and more baby friendly toys. I thoroughly enjoy making all of these items and I think it adds a unique twist to the diaper cakes I offer as well as creating stand-alone gifts. This of course is one more way to offer something truly unique.