Behind the Scenes

“Oh that bracelet is really pretty! Maybe I should try doing that. It really looks easy.”

Well, it is. Sort of. 

But you don’t know what goes into the making of a bracelet or necklace. It’s what you don’t see before the bracelet is finished. 

I didn’t know what went into it all before I became hooked on making bracelets and necklaces. 

At first, I’ll admit, I copied designs I found online. Well not totally copied, but fairly close. But those were for me, and certainly not to sell. 

Then I started making my own designs, which was a lot more enjoyable and creative. 

Getting ideas and then finding the right beads is a lot of fun. Usually. Unless you can’t find what you’re looking for. So many times I’ve had a particular color and style of bead in mind, but can’t find it in the local craft stores.

Ordering online is the only other option. I don’t paying for shipping, but sometimes there’s no other choice if Amazon doesn’t have what I need. And I hate waiting, but what other choice do I have?

Now I do have a rather large assortment of beads in the studio,  since I’ve been doing this for awhile.  

 But it seems like there’s always something else I need.

Putting the design together is usually easy, as long as you have an idea what you’re going to do. I use a bead board to plan the jewelry out which allows me to not only see the design as I go but also make sure the size is correct. Which is very important.

Then comes the part I really don’t enjoy. Stringing is not that bad, and I have several different kinds and sizes of beading filament and wire that I use. 

Note to newbies: be sure to allow yourself enough filament to have at least an inch of filament at each end so you’ll be able to tie off the bracelet without the beads coming off. Yes,it’s happened to me many times, and I scold myself for doing it every time! You’d think I’d learn eventually. If the ends aren’t long enough to tie your knots correctly, you’re going to regret it. 

And be sure to use a bead stopper on each end of the almost finished bracelet or necklace. My favorite are the “bead bugs”. I like the name, but they really work well. I probably have 20 sets of them so I can make a lot of bracelets or necklaces at one time. Then complete the final steps with several pieces at a time.

Because for me, the most difficult part of finishing a stretch bracelet is gluing the knot, which is an extremely important final step to be sure that knot holds. Why is it so difficult? 

For one thing, it’s very precise, and the smaller the beads, the harder it is to tie the knots and position the glue correctly. I use a brand called G-S Hypo Cement which dries quickly, and because of the type of applicator, it’s fairly easy to get the right amount on there. Let the glue dry for a few hours, snip the ends off, and you’re done.

The problem, you may ask? Getting  the cap back on the tube in exactly the right place. Plus my astigmatism makes it even harder! You can see from the picture below that it’s very slim and tiny. I love the way you can manipulate the drop of glue, but let me tell you, putting that cap back on is not easy.

The other closure types, lobster claw or toggle clasps, can be easily as frustrating until you master the art of the crimp. (Just make sure to include the clasps in the overall length of your jewelry.) Putting the actual crimp bead on isn’t really that difficult. But finishing it off with a crimp cover? Let’s just say I haven’t mastered it as well as I’d like. The crimp covers are small, and have to be positioned just right to cover the crimp. And with astigmatism, it’s worse than putting the cap on the glue!

And if you mess up on these last steps, well, you sort of have to start over. Which is certainly not fun.

But the finished products are definitely worth it. 

Be sure to visit my store NotOnlyBracelets to see – and purchase –  some of my creations.

Gratitude, Thankfulness, and a Little Spice

We’re already well into fall. October is already gone and Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away. Where’s the time going?

For me it’s going too fast. I don’t have nearly the time I need to get ready for all the festivities and shows that are just ahead. 

Creating jewelry for the fall has lagged behind a lot more than I wanted, with all the other projects I’ve been involved with. But the busy-ness of life is just that. Busy-ness. Sometimes it takes over your life to the point that you are so busy being busy, you don’t accomplish anything.

However, these last few days have enabled me to have a spurt of creativity, and I’m delighted to introduce our Fall/Thanksgiving bracelet collection. 

Only one of a kind of each piece. But they’re all created with love as well as attention to color and detail. And we do take custom orders; just be sure to get them in in enough time for me to make and ship them.

Working with the Heishi beads was a bit of a challenge at first, I must admit. They go together much differently than regular glass or gemstone beads. But once I got started on this collection, I found it to be a fun challenge to come up with the right words to use with my bracelets. 

I love the personalization, and although none of this collection uses actual names, they can certainly be custom made. As long as I have the letters in my bead collection, that is.

I’m discovering as I go along that the alphabet beads don’t always have enough of the letters I need for certain words. Especially the multicolored beads, and as you can see, I’ve had to combine beads from other sets to get the word I needed. But it works, and adds a few unexpected pops of color as well.

Just don’t do what I did and spell a word wrong if you’re making your own personalized jewelry. I did that and had to redo half of the bracelet…fortunately I caught the mistake before I’d finished it off!

Heishi bracelets are designed to be worn in stacks, 3-4 at a time. Although they look equally nice being worn one at a time. Personally I love the stacking because I can show off more of my creations at one time.

Here are some of the collections I’ve just posted in my shop. 

Welcome Fall

Fall leaves, pumpkins, and fresh-baked apple pie. What sounds more like fall than that combination? And don’t forget the Gobble (for the turkey, of course)!

With Gratitude

Thankful.  Grateful.  Gratitude. Isn’t that what the Thanksgiving season is all about? Why not buy one of these for yourself as well as for a special friend?

Spicy

This was a fun set to create. It was harder figuring out what spice names to use than actually doing the designs. These would make a great gift for someone who really enjoys cooking.

You may click on the link NotOnlyBracelets or in the home page of this blog to go directly to the store.

And check back often to see what else we’ve come up with. Christmas is coming, you know!

Obsessed With Beads

Once you start collecting a few beads…you just can’t get enough of them. There are so many styles…colors…shapes and sizes…so many different materials. You want them all. But then what do you do with them?

That was my situation. But let me start at the beginning.

When my husband decided we needed ANOTHER Christmas tree several years ago (we already had SIX!) he wanted to do a wine themed tree. Which led me to start collecting wine corks so I could make a few garlands to put on the tree the following year. Well, my cork collection grew as friends contributed their corks, as well as my asking for wine corks at restaurants when we went out to dinner, and I soon had a large collection of them. Then I started buying a few beads to add to my creations.

One thing led to another, and I found myself making not only wine cork Christmas garland, wine cork Christmas ornaments, but also wine bottle hanging “jewelry” and other cork creations, combining any number of my colorful beads with the corks. I even started collecting champagne corks (and a few Petron corks) and making what I call “corky people.” It was so much fun!

But I quickly became obsessed with all the bead choices and eventually decided to expand my creativity into making my own jewelry. At first I only made bracelets and a few necklaces just for me, and for my granddaughters, but one thing led to another, and I realized I had to sell some of my creations in order to fund my obsession/hobby. After all, how many bracelets can you wear at one time? Three, four, maybe five in a stack, but when you’re working remotely you don’t get to show them off as often!

I already had an online shop called The Beaded Cork which sold my corky people, corked wedding cake toppers and wine bottle hangers as well as diaper cakes and cupcakes, but I’d put that on hiatus for a little while. 

So I renamed and redesigned my store, which was not the easiest thing in the world to do, but after several weeks of categorizing products, taking photos, and pricing and writing up product descriptions, NotOnlyBracelets was finally launched on Etsy.

The shop has an assortment of farmhouse garland, beaded corky people, necklaces, and of course all sorts of bracelets, including kids’ bracelets. More styles and selections are added each week as I find time to design and create them. Some for me, and some to sell.

And a former bedroom has now been turned into a craft and jewelry studio where I can play with my beads in my own space without having to move my unfinished work to make room for other things. Plus I have room to create other items when the mood hits me! (Which is what the vase of silk flowers is for that’s sitting on my table.)

With my own space who knows what else I’ll come up with as I go along!

You can visit my shop through the link in this post or by clicking Shop – Not Only Bracelets in the menu of this site.

And if you have a particular jewelry or garland idea in mind, contact me and we’ll see what we can come up with.

And now, back to my studio. The beads are calling.

Why These Bracelets?

According to the latest statistics from the American Cancer Society (October, 2021), there are some 3.8 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S.  It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among  American women. Breast cancer became the most common cancer globally as of 2021. And it is estimated that in 2021, 281,500 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S.

And even more frightening, about 43,600 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2021 from breast cancer. That’s 43,600 too many.

While I have not had it, I know far too many women who have, or who have family members who have. Because of early detection, most have fortunately survived, and several of these women are already past the five year marker. And some, sadly, were tragically lost.

It wasn’t easy on them, or their families. They were naturally scared, and yes, terrified, when they received the diagnosis, but yet they were determined to be a survivor. But it was a long, hard road.

There were surgeries, of course. Lumpectomies, partial mastectomies or full mastectomies. There was radiation and chemo. All of them were sick from those treatments. Some worse than others. Some had to stay in bed a few days or weeks after each one because they were so ill. They missed work, children’s and grandchildren’s special events, birthdays, weddings, and holidays.

And of course, there was the hair loss. A side effect from all the treatments, adding insult to injury, as the saying goes. They wore wigs and scarves, and while the wigs were almost undetectable as not being their own hair, THEY knew.

Their families supported them, but obviously they were worried as well. And who wouldn’t blame them?

Most of the women I am referring to survived, as I said previously, but not without a hard-fought battle. And they don’t forget what they went through. They go to regular checkups with the thought always in their head…”what if it comes back

My mother-in-law passed away from breast cancer when our daughter was young. Because she lived so far away, our daughter doesn’t even remember meeting her.

Why these bracelets? They are designed not only to honor women who are fighting this disease, who have survived this disease, or unfortunately lost their battle with this disease, but also as a reminder that we’re all in this fight together.

These are available in my shop, NotOnlyBracelets on Etsy. Or you may click on the link on my home page to take you to the store.

Custom orders can be designed and personalized with yours or a loved one’s name.

Please ladies, get your annual mammograms. Check your breasts monthly. And if you suspect something is wrong go to your doctor immediately.

We don’t want to lose any more of you to this disease!

Just A Frustrated Baker

This post was actually written a couple of years ago about a side business I have called Cake-A-Bye Baby. I make towel cakes and diaper cakes for bridal showers and baby showers. When I have the time, that is. I thought it appropriate to re-post it here, since I’m working on another diaper cake creation for my own daughter, and haven’t had as much time to write as I’d like.

And anyone who knows me well know that I really don’t enjoy cooking – I have to be in the mood. Writing is much more fun.

I do enjoy baking though, but usually only Christmas cookies. The whole month of December our house has the best smells – and containers of all kinds of tasty cookies piled all over the kitchen, waiting to be devoured by family and friends or packed up and given as gifts! You’ve seen some of those recipes!

But secretly I’ve always wanted to learn the art of cake decorating. I’m always just so amazed at the beautiful cakes so many bakers turn out, seemingly on a daily basis. Pinterest can sometimes drive me crazy because I see all these fantastic sugar creations that other people have made. If only…..

Pinterest Wedding cakes
pinterest2

Here’s a treasure chest a friend of mine made for a birthday party, and she’s not even a professional baker!
birthday treasure
Aren’t they incredible? So why not me….?

Well, probably one main reason. No matter how hard I’ve tried, I just cannot frost a cake. No matter what I do there are always cake crumbs stuck in the icing. Really attractive! I’ve tried many times to make frosting flowers, and we won’t even discuss those fiascoes! And certainly I have no pictures!

I have friends who turn out masterpieces from flour and sugar – and they’re just amateur bakers who should really open their own businesses. I have other friends who are professional bakers and create beautiful wedding cakes and birthday cakes. Like this magnificent creation from a collaboration between Jessica from Cake Delights and Catherine from Catherine’s Distinctive Floral Designs…layer after layer of gorgeous wedding cake with fresh roses in between each layer!

Chincoteague

So this frustrated baker gave up! Try as I might, there was never any question that whatever cake I made and decorated certainly involved no help from ANYONE else!

But then…problem solved! With no oven or other cooking skills involved. It was perfect. All I needed was a set of towels or a package of diapers, and a couple of trips to the craft store. No ingredients to spoil. No pans or bowls to wash. No recipe to follow. Nothing to refrigerate!
P1100084

And I can even use actual cake pans to put the diaper cakes together!

Best of all, I can do the decorating at my leisure; and if I don’t like the way it looks, all I have to do is unpin a few things and re-arrange them. If I find items in the craft store I like, I can buy them and keep them on hand for future creations without worrying about them spoiling or going stale!

So who wants a cake? Guaranteed it won’t be underbaked, burned on the bottom, and it can be kept around for a long time without it going bad!
Cakes and Cakes
P1070986

Want to hear something really funny? I actually received a postcard a few years ago from a local culinary school addressed to “Pastry Chef” at Cake-A-Bye Baby! I have it sitting on my desk! I’m deciding whether or not to frame it!


Photo Sources: Top Row: Photo 1-2: Source Unknown; Photo 3 – Foodista.com Second Row: Photo 1-2: Sweetcakebox.com; Photo 3: Likeitshort.com – Treasure Cake: Personal Files – Rose Tiered Cake: Cake Delights – Remaining Photos: Personal Files

Bouquets – Beads, Buttons, or…Corks?

Back when our grandparents, and even our parents, got married (or, let’s be honest, that can also include my husband and I and lots of our friends) there was absolutely no doubt about what our wedding bouquets would be…a collection of gorgeous fresh flowers, usually mostly roses, and almost always in white! After all, it was a wedding, and usually the only colors in the wedding party were worn or carried by the bridesmaids!

While I’m not fortunate enough to have photos of my grandparents’ weddings, and I’m not sure there were any photos even taken that long ago, I do have a couple of pictures of my parents’ wedding day, and you can see what her bouquet looked like! They were huge, and gorgeous, yes, but my how times have changed!

Image5

Almost thirty years ago when my husband and I were married, I carried a simple arrangement of just five RED roses. Perfect for the small family ceremony we had.

These days, though, brides and florists are much more creative with their bouquets. There’s no right or wrong color/style anymore. Many brides elect to carry arrangements with pops of their wedding colors along with the traditional white flowers, while others will carry bouquets all done completely in their bridesmaids’ colors and have their maids carry all white arrangements. Or each bridesmaid carries a bouquet in matching flowers with different shades of the wedding colors. The variations are endless!
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Flowers are not always the bouquets of choice for today’s brides. More and more brides are electing to carry jeweled brooch bouquets which can be placed on permanent display after the wedding, and easily passed on from generation to generation as the “something old” for the bride to carry. Many brides even use jewelry passed on from their mothers and grandmothers and other family members to construct a very special piece just for them, while others commission these bouquets to be custom made, or even make them themselves. Some even use a combination of real flowers with a smattering of jewels!
Brooch Bouquets
squidoocom

Don’t worry….these brides also use a smaller “toss bouquet” made from either fresh or silk flowers when it’s time to throw the bouquet! Otherwise, there could be problems!

Buttons are even being used to make bouquets. My grandmother had a huge collection of buttons she’d saved over many years, although I have no idea where those buttons are now. I can only imagine what a bouquet could have looked like made from that collection! Would you like to carry something like this?

Button Bouquets

Many beach brides elect to carry bouquets either made entirely from seashells, or incorporating sea shells into the overall design…either in a traditional bouquet itself, or even simply carrying a large conch or nautilus shell filled with beautifully arranged flowers.

Shell Bouquets
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Since we love flowers here at The Beaded Cork, we came up with our own unique bouquet style, combining beaded corks (what else!) with either silk or fresh flowers to create gorgeous bouquets, with table centerpieces to match.

Bouquets2

These are perfect not only for a wine themed wedding, but also add a unique touch to any bouquet for the bride who wants something just a bit different and unique. Beaded cork picks, as well as silk bouquets made with the picks, are available in any number of styles and colors and of course are ready to be inserted into your bouquets by your individual florist.

And of course, coordinating wine cork boutonnieres are also available for the guys in various styles and colors! Or just come up with an idea of your own and we can make it for you!

Cork Boutonnieres

What ideas can YOU come up with for bouquets and boutonnieres for your special day? Remember…it’s YOUR wedding! Your style.

Now….I’m sensing another new bouquet style waiting to be created. Check back with us!

Photo Sources: Parents Wedding Photo: Personal files – Row of Bouquets: Google Images- Hydrangea Bouquets: AmandaHedgepethPhotography.com – Row of Brooch Bouquets: lilybudsbouquets.com; bluepetyl on etsy; silverstems on etsy- Flowers with jewels: Squidoo.com- Button Bouquets: ABrideLessOrdinary.com – Row of Shell Bouquets: ProjectWedding.com; BoHo Bridal on etsy; liberiangirl1blogspot.com Nautilus: YourWeddingCompany.com-Cork Boutonnieres: Personal Files

Just A Frustrated Baker

Anyone who knows me well know that I really don’t enjoy cooking – I have to be in the mood.

I do enjoy baking though, but usually only Christmas cookies. The whole month of December our house has the best smells – and containers of all kinds of tasty cookies piled all over the kitchen, waiting to be devoured by family and friends or packed up and given as gifts!

But secretly I’ve always wanted to learn the art of cake decorating. I’m always just so amazed at the beautiful cakes so many bakers turn out, seemingly on a daily basis. Pinterest can sometimes drive me crazy because I see all these fantastic sugar creations that other people have made. If only…..

Pinterest Wedding cakes
pinterest2

Here’s a treasure chest a friend of mine made for a birthday party, and she’s not even a professional baker!
birthday treasure
Aren’t they incredible? So why not me….?

Well, probably one main reason. No matter how hard I’ve tried, I just cannot frost a cake. No matter what I do there are always cake crumbs stuck in the icing. Really attractive! I’ve tried many times to make frosting flowers, and we won’t even discuss those fiascoes! And certainly I have no pictures!

I have friends who turn out masterpieces from flour and sugar – and they’re just amateur bakers who should really open their own businesses. I have other friends who are professional bakers and create beautiful wedding cakes and birthday cakes. Like this magnificent creation from a collaboration between Jessica from Cake Delights and Catherine from Catherine’s Distinctive Floral Designs…layer after layer of gorgeous wedding cake with fresh roses in between each layer!

Chincoteague

So this frustrated baker gave up! Try as I might, there was never any question that whatever cake I made and decorated certainly involved no help from ANYONE else!

But then…problem solved! With no oven or other cooking skills involved. It was perfect. All I needed was a set of towels or a package of diapers, and a couple of trips to the craft store. No ingredients to spoil. No pans or bowls to wash. No recipe to follow. Nothing to refrigerate!
P1100084

And I can even use actual cake pans to put the diaper cakes together!

Best of all, I can do the decorating at my leisure; and if I don’t like the way it looks, all I have to do is unpin a few things and re-arrange them. If I find items in the craft store I like, I can buy them and keep them on hand for future creations without worrying about them spoiling or going stale!

So who wants a cake? Guaranteed it won’t be underbaked, burned on the bottom, and it can be kept around for a long time without it going bad!
Cakes and Cakes
P1070986

Want to hear something really funny? We received a postcard a few weeks ago from a local culinary school addressed to “Pastry Chef” at Cake-A-Bye Baby! I have it sitting on my desk! I think I’ll frame it! Or change my title on my business cards!

So be sure to visit us at Cake-A-Bye Baby to shop for your next calorie-free confection! You can order early! It won’t go bad!

Photo Sources: Top Row: Photo 1-2: Source Unknown; Photo 3 – Foodista.com Second Row: Photo 1-2: Sweetcakebox.com; Photo 3: Likeitshort.com – Treasure Cake: Personal Files – Rose Tiered Cake: Cake Delights – Remaining Photos: Personal Files

Engagement Photos

A few weeks ago our daughter Ashley went from Virginia Beach to Honolulu to visit her friend Erin, who is also one of her bridesmaids. A portion of this blog is re-posted with Erin’s permission from her blog, Crafty Girl Problems.

“Aloha! During Ashley’s visit she asked me to make a few things for her upcoming engagement photos. I said, “uh duh, yes.” We made a few stops at craft stores around the island and we got our materials. I spent all week working on little signs in our down time. I even had the bride to be help with the base painting and top clear coats. She pretty much let me do my thing and trusted my artistic hand all while giving good ideas and opinions to make the signs turn out even better. I think I taught her a few of my crafty ways too!
CandA
Ashley and her fiance Chris are huge dog lovers. Between the two of them they have two fur babies and have their minds set on another pup before their wedding in 2015. Ashley and I were throwing ideas out there for her signs and we came up with a sign specially for the pups! With that, my pallet addiction took over, yet again. I honestly think that the sign for the pups could possibly be my favorite of my recent crafts. I just love the little milk bone on the left side of the sign. Be sure to tell me what you think.
Our Humans

When I first walked into this local craft store (a week before Ashley got here) I had my eye on this little string of hearts. I was teetering on buying it for Kristen’s wedding but for the life of me, I couldn’t think of how to use it. When I took Ashley to the craft store I was pretty happy when she wanted to get it.
Hearts

We had the best idea to print her wedding date on it and I love how it turned out.
Finished Hearts

After seeing all of my chalkboard paint works of art, Ashley knew that she wanted one for herself. Here is what we came up with. A beachy sign for the beachy couple.
Chalkboard

Such a busy touristy week and I still had time to make all of these little cuties! Can’t wait to see how the engagement photos turn out! Congratulations love birds.”

Erin, you and Ashley did a great job, and I promise you will be helping out with more decorations and ideas for the big day in 2015!

Ashley and Chris had their engagement photos taken this week, and we’re so excited about how they turned out that we have to share. The signs were used perfectly, and their dogs actually cooperated with our photographer! Course, they were all dressed up in their blue polka dot bow ties, so they had no choice!
dogs with signs
Please follow this link to see more of Ashley and Chris’ Engagement Photos. We love how all of the signs were used, as well as how beautiful these pictures of our daughter and future son-in-law came out. Special thanks to our very talented photographer, Amanda Hedgepeth Photography in Virginia Beach. And for those of you who read our blog featuring the starfish wedding cake toppers, how do you like Ashley’s photos with her ring being worn by the starfish? (I just wonder how Amanda got her to actually take it off her finger??!!)

Feel free to leave your comments on either our page, or our photographer’s page.

Champagne and Starfish

Every bride has her own ideas for what she wants on top of her wedding cake. Sometimes the groom even gets a say in it, although in our experience, the bride usually has the final word….if she even consults the groom!

With beach themed weddings so popular these days, and since we’re located in a beach area, naturally we’ve done several beach-themed cake toppers. Starfish are really popular these days, both for reception table décor as well as cake toppers. In fact, we hadn’t even thought about doing anything with starfish until a local baker asked if we could make a starfish bridal couple for a client she was working with. So we created our first Mr. and Mrs. Starfish!
P1100594
They were so popular we ended up making several more, including a special order for a Florida couple who wanted their son, who was going to be the ring bearer, incorporated into the cake top display.
Starfish
That was fun, and gave us ideas to create other starfish couples! What do you think of these?
Starfish2

But our favorite cake toppers are still our champagne cork couples. Winery themed weddings are also very popular now, and with the state of Virginia (where we’re located) having over 200 wineries, well, our champagne wedding cake couples certainly have a lot of places they can visit! Of course, not all wine themed weddings have to take place at a winery.

We like to have our starfish couples a bit glitzy, after all it IS a wedding! And most of our champagne cork brides and grooms are also elegantly dressed, as you can see here.

3 Toppers
My Corks
Cork Couples

However, who said champagne can’t be enjoyed on the beach? So we created some beachy cork couples and dressed them in more casual wedding attire and surrounded them with shells.
Shell Tops
As you may have read previously, our daughter is recently engaged, and planning a beach themed wedding. With starfish.

And although she’s already picked out her cake topper, wouldn’t some of these look great as part of the table decorations?
Starfish Toppers
If you’re interested in any of these cake toppers, contact me to discuss.

Who Wants Cake?

Must apologize for not updating sooner. There’s been so much going on recently –
the biggest project being our search for the perfect wedding venue for our daughter and her fiancé – one that is pretty, beachy, and bright, with great food, and – oh yes – affordable! More to come on that….

However, there are several areas that will most likely be a lot more fun than picking the venue, and one of them is obviously choosing the perfect wedding cake!
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Just the idea itself conjures up all kinds of sugary ideas. The best part, of course, is going to all the tastings! After all, you have to be sure the cake is as delicious as it is beautiful! And everyone’s tastes are different, of course. In this case, the bride prefers yellow cake; the groom prefers chocolate. And mom (ME!), who is planning the event, thinks almond is the perfect wedding cake flavor. Then you have the Father of the Bride whose favorite cake is one with raspberry filling, which the bride doesn’t like at all!

So where to start…what to do!

The last wedding we planned featured a non-traditional wedding “cake”, although many brides are opting for this choice today. She wanted cake pops. That should be easy, right? Well, not if you’re looking for cheesecake cake pops! We searched and researched – thought we found someone – and they were totally booked for the wedding date! (And we didn’t even get to taste!)

Searching again finally led us to another baker in the area (cheesecake cake pops are evidently not the easiest things to make). Hooray! We went to visit – tasted – and that was it! Perfect! Beautifully decorated and in a raspberry flavor/color to match their wedding colors. (Even my daughter – the next bride – who hates raspberry – loved them!)
Cake Pops

They were a huge success! And then our baker’s husband got transferred and they moved to another state…..

Although we have plenty of time before we need to address the wedding cake issue, I decided to sort of start the ball rolling early. After all, since I make wedding cake toppers, and I happened to have a few of my latest creations in my studio, and we were having our annual flamingo pool party, what better time to introduce my flamingo wine cork wedding cake toppers than at the party! And of course have the newly engaged couple practice cutting the cake! (With one layer chocolate and the other yellow, of course!)P1000550

They did a great job, although I didn’t make them practice feeding each other. Plenty of time for that later….and I didn’t want either of them wearing cake for the rest of the evening. It could tend to get a little messy in the pool!

We had so much fun with the tiered flamingo cake, I decided to try another style on our bride-to-be for her birthday cake! My champagne cork beach bathing beauties looked awesome on her cake….and the palm trees and umbrellas were the perfect touch! And no, I DIDN’T make this. That’s what bakeries and pastry chefs are for!
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Of course, we forgot that the umbrellas were made of paper, and the candles got a little too close to the umbrellas, and, well, it was interesting to watch the umbrellas sort of disintegrate! Not to worry, we didn’t catch the restaurant on fire, and the bathing beauty corks are fine!
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So does this make you hungry? Or better yet, how about give you ideas for decorating your next cake? Take a look at some of the cake toppers and our other corky beaded goodies we make, order the one(s) of your choice, and start designing!

A Very Special Cake

Over the last several years I’ve made a lot of towel and diaper cakes for some very special recipients, including one of my daughter’s best friends whose wedding I planned and coordinated a few months ago.

But last week when I made one of my mini towel cakes with a beach wedding theme, complete with an “engagement ring” and a champagne cork couple designed after the recipients, it was the most special one I’ve done….because it was for our daughter Ashley and her now-fiance Chris!P1000226

It was most definitely a labor of love, but I do have to admit I had a lot of conflicting emotions running through me as I designed and made this particular cake. Excitement, absolutely, because her dad and I knew he was going to propose, and we knew he was going to ask her on the beach during the fireworks! Ashley, on the other hand, had no idea, as it should have been!

His plans were all in place, and as Ben and I sat at a restaurant on the 4th of July waiting for her excited call, we were almost as excited as we knew she would be! And of course, their first engagement gift was to be that special creation I’d made just for them! I only hoped they liked it.

Of course, when Ashley called, I could barely understand a word she said, she was so very, very happy! It’s the moment all moms and dads think about as their daughters get to that certain age, and also wonder how they’ll feel. But I have to say, we were almost as excited as they were! And very proud to welcome our future son-in-law to our family.P1000228

So Ashley and Chris, this is for you. The first gift of many as you begin to plan for your big day, and for your new life together. Dad and I wish you two nothing but the best…..and now, my role as Mother of the Bride/Wedding Planner begins in full force! Sure hope Ben has his checkbook ready……the ring enhanced

A Proper Salute to the 4th!

As our country prepares to celebrate the 4th of July this week, I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss my thoughts about this particular holiday.

Yes, we celebrate with cookouts and picnics…going to the beach or the park or other fun locations to watch fireworks! Most of us (those who don’t work in the hospitality or entertainment industry, or retail, or emergency services, that is!) have the day off to enjoy with our families and friends.

Our homes and yards are seen sporting red, white, and blue; we even have one of our “famous” flamingos in the front yard decked out in her patriotic colors, complete with Uncle Sam hat! We make desserts and other goodies to resemble our flag. And yes, our craft studio is no exception…we’ve even made this set of red, white and blue wine bottle pendants, just for patriotic parties!
Patriotic Corks

But we also need to take the time to remember what this holiday is really for. It’s actually Independence Day, as you know…the day we celebrate our nation’s actually becoming its own country…the United States…with our freedom being declared from England! Our ancestors fought hard for our freedom. Our brave men and women who served and are still serving in our armed forces put their very lives on the line every day to continue to make sure we keep our precious freedom. And we thank and salute each and every one of them for their service!

Without them, I hate to think where we’d be!

Now…do you know why fireworks are used for 4th of July celebrations? They were first used on July 8, 1776. Possibly since fireworks were traditionally used as a birthday celebration for the kings and queens, the shooting off of fireworks was done to celebrate the end of the king’s power over the colonies. The first official July 4 celebration was held the following year, on July 4, 1777, in Philadelphia, which was the capitol of the United States at that time. Soon other cities followed Philadelphia’s lead, and there you have it! The rest is history!

Being originally from Maryland, every time I hear the “Star Spangled Banner” I also tend to think about how similar the fireworks must look to what it probably looked like at Ft. McHenry when Francis Scott Key wrote about the “rocket’s red glare and the bombs bursting in air”! Only those were real ammunition….not mere fireworks!

Even though July 4 was not declared an official federal holiday until 1941, it had been celebrated unofficially, since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. With the federal recognition, celebrations grew to what we have today.

So as you enjoy your cookouts with friends and family, and “ooh” and “ahh” over the fireworks, please take a moment to remember the sacrifices made by so many so that we can all enjoy the freedom we so often take for granted!

God Bless America! And Happy Independence Day!

4th July