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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Creativity......

How important is creativity in your life?? It ranks pretty high in mine. I call my creative side into action many, many times a day!! Our business...and all that is involved with it...requires more than your average amount of creativity. The past week and half, for example, I have had to come up with very creative ways to deal with not feeling well. Since this is something I rarely need to deal with (thank goodness!!) it was a challenge!! (By the way....just as a side note....if you find yourself with this upper respiratory wonderfulness....take care of yourself....it's a doozie!!) I, also, found it necessary to deal with more than average amounts of rude, arrogant and self absorbed people (I would love to blame the full moon.....but I am pretty sure the rude arrogance is ever present!!) If THAT doesn't test your creativity....what does??

But....aside from all of that....last Monday was "decorate our house for Halloween" day...and then Tuesday was "design, cutout and bake haunted gingerbread houses" day and Wednesday was our class!! All in all....a pretty hefty dose of creative energy was needed!!

At the beginning of "decorate for Halloween" Monday I am excited about getting it all done....spending some time with all of my collectibles!! By about noon-ish....I am wondering what I have gotten myself into (add in the fact that I really didn't feel well!!!) By about three-ish.....I just want the day to end!! This is a huge undertaking when I feel GREAT!!! I haven't done an official count (I am not sure I WANT to know!!!) of the number of "bins" that are devoted to Halloween...if I had to estimate I would say in the 18 to 20 range. All of them need to be emptied before I can even begin!! It's a daunting task...but, when I am done, it is very, very satisfying!! I love to do the displays....and "show-off" all of our treasured collection!! What I really love, though, is just wandering from room to room....enjoying what we have ***created***!

Every year, when we have our gingerbread house classes...whether they are the "haunted" variety or the Christmas houses.....we have a "newbie" or two (or three....) that claim to have "no creativity"....to this I say...."horsefeathers"....(well....that's not what I REALLY say.....) I defy anyone to sit with a "blank" gingerbread house in front of them....and a table full of candy....and  NOT be creative!!!! Every time....without fail....unique, one-of-a-kind, extremely creative houses are carried out the front door! (by very proud owners!!) Somewhere in the course of the evening....the juices start to flow and the uncultivated creative side emerges!!

But there is more to it than just going home with a house that you're proud of. Somewhere during the creative process....we relax, we let go. We find ourselves thinking about something other than the pressures of the day.....we enjoy the creativity and the end results!! There is a really good reason why people paint and write, knit and garden, cook and bake, decorate and collect. It makes us happy!! Do you need to be the next Picasso....no. Do you need to be the next Jane Austin....no. Do you need to be Martha Stewart....heavens no!!!! You need to find the creative outlet (or outlets...) that makes you happy and take a little time to indulge in them!! Creativity is VERY important....go out there and find something to create! Hmmm....maybe if there were MORE creativity....there would be LESS rude, self important arrogance!! Just saying!! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

An Interesting Week....

"Making People Happy Is My Job....And, Most Of The Time It's A Piece Of Cake".

That's our tagline....but it's true.

I make A LOT of cake!!

In the "bakery business" trends come and go....I, myself, have never been one to follow trends. Between all of the food channels and the magazines it seems the whole world has become a "foodie" and a food critic. Considering what we do for a living....I don't think that's a bad thing. I do, however, think the best part of this, particular, trend is the "new" interest in the old-fashioned baking. It's not a "trend" around here....it's what we do and what we have always done...but if it shifts the spotlight...that's okay with me!!

This has been an interesting week. I just ordered a cookbook that is full of heirloom recipes...(actually, that's not all that interesting...I have an obsession with cookbooks and can't help myself) I am excited to read it because I love recipes with history and family connections. I think that's one of the reasons I will recommend (and carry in the gift shops...) the Gooseberry Patch books...they are nothing BUT recipes with history and family connections. No complicated steps, unusual cookware or weird ingredients. Just tried and true...no fail...homemade....period. The kind of recipes that you will make....over and over...and, eventually, become "known" for!! Now...this started me thinking about all of those recipes that you make again and again...the ones that are expected at each and every family gathering. You know what I am talking about....right? They are the best....nothing trendy...just really good food that makes everyone happy. The very definition of "comfort food".

Now....THAT got me thinking...I am sure that you had a birthday cake. No, I don't mean..."had" a birthday cake....I mean there was one kind of cake that was "yours". Someone made it for you...every year...and you could count on it. Sometimes the rest of your family looked forward to it, too. Sometimes they didn't....for example if you like coconut and the rest of the family isn't a fan...oh well, more for you!! These cakes, more than likely, were homemade...no decorations, no fondant, no edible glitter or airbrushing. Just delicious...from beginning to end. In other words...no trends.

Now..... The entry forms for the baking contest at the "1803 House : A Very Merrie Halloween" event are rolling in. So far....they all look to be old-fashioned family pleasing recipes. And....I have had multiple phone calls from a company that wants me to try using duck fat in my baking....that is not going to happen. I told the lady, that keeps calling, that I was partial to butter....I am not sure she is listening. And....this week....I, also, had someone who needed a cake with absolutely no dairy...(allergies)...which I can do....but she wanted it all decorated....which I WON'T do. Like I said...it's been an interesting week.

At this point...we have been in business for a long time....long enough that, for quite a few of you, "your" birthday cake....is a Sweet Memories cake!! I just wanted you to know that I will continue to "find" (rediscover???) those wonderful old-fashioned recipes...probably tweak them (it's another thing that I do and can't help myself...) be here to make "your" cakes...without duck fat (I don't care HOW "in" THAT becomes!!!!) and NOT cloud up the "comfort" with a whole bunch of unnecessary decorations.

After all.....making people happy is my job....and, most of the time, it's a piece of (old-fashioned, nostalgic, memory (sweet of course) filled, comfortable, makes-you-happy, delicious) cake!!!!


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Staying Connected....

How do you "use" social media??

Do you pin, tweet, post....blog??

Are you "surfing" to look for decorating ideas, recipes, to stay up to date on all of your favorite stores, movies, television shows and music. Are you doing a little "spying"...yeah, you know what I'm talking about. Is it too much??

I get a lot of questions about our "website". I knew, a long time ago...even before social media...that it was something I would have to look into, that we needed a "web presence". To be honest...."ordinary" websites don't do anything for me. I think they lack personality. I never feel like they tell me what I want to know. Can I find out a stores hours....sure...but I want to know what the store is like...and you can't get that from a website. With the avenues that are available, now, I can finish putting icing on a cupcake, take a picture and post it all within seconds. I can tell you when events are coming up, when new merchandise has arrived, take pictures of new displays and even tell you all about my daughter's wedding!! But, most importantly, I can stay connected to all of you!!

Really....all of this technology is just a case of "Everything old is new again"...it's like sitting on the phone, for hours, with your best friend, seeing your coworker's vacation pictures, exchanging recipes (and a little gossip) with your neighbor and getting a letter from your Grandmother (which I miss!!) all within the 3 "spare" minutes we can manage to find in a day!!

With our crazy schedules...and crazy lives...I think it's great that we have a way to stay connected!! Sure....some people over do it. Too many pictures from the inside of the car....too many updates about the dog...too much information, period!! But, in my news feed, I can stay informed of important events, have a little laugh and feel like I am visiting with an old friend. I think I am more involved and connected than ever!!

I LOVE the social media outlets and the way they allow me to stay connected to all of you!! I love the idea of being able to talk to you, answer your questions and, maybe, brighten your day!! There is something very rewarding about posting something and getting lots and lots of "likes" and comments!! It shows that you like us...you really like us!! (hahahaha....) I don't think any of this replaces time spent with the people that matter to us...but then, neither did a letter!! It's just a great way to stay in the loop!!I just want you all to know that, no matter how busy we are, no matter how much I have to do...you are very important to us...and I am just the click of a key away!!