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.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Monkey Flower Cake

Not long after my "Big Challenge" cake, I was presented with a rush order from the same friend. They had a slightly unexpected shower that she needed a gift for. This cake, fortunately, had a much easier theme to work with than a geek cake. This cake needed to be a pink monkey cake.

I was really excited about this cake since I think some of the monkey cakes I had seen were simply adorable. There also seems to be a wide variety of monkey printed baby items making this cake much easier to find components for - and I knew just what I wanted to do. This cake had a modest budget, but I still wanted to get all I could out of it.

For this cake, I obtained some pink monkey blankets which would set the base palate for the cake. I built a three-tiered cake and wrapped the layers in the blankets. A monkey lovee was added to the top of the cake. For decorations, I crafted washcloth flowers. A few were roses, but as my "crowning glory," so to speak, were washcloth daisies crafted to match the flowers found on the blankets. This was the first time I had made the daisies and the finished look was phenomenal. Completed with ribbons and paper shred decorations, this cake became my new favorite creation.

I absolutely love the finished look of this cake. The design is clean and simple, but elegant. I was able to incorporate a new concept to the design which always makes me excited. Of course, my friend loved the cake and I believe the expectant parent(s) did too. I look forward to more projects like this since I love a cake with a clean cohesive concept!