December 30, 2009
How could you NOT eat the cake?? Why wouldn't you?
All that hard work was done for 2 reasons:
1) to create an amazing centerpiece for your special event - one that will make your event memorable
2) to create an amazing dessert for your special event - one that will make your event memorable
Did you notice that the reasons are: Centerpiece & Dessert??
It doesn't matter how gorgeous or amazing that cake is, I expect you to eat it because bottom line - it's a CAKE! What good is it if you don't eat it?? My job as a cake artist is to make amazing custom cake centerpieces that taste as good as they look - if you don't eat it, you won't know if I'm doing my job!
So to all of you that have been fortunate enough to have a Flour Confections centerpiece at your event, I hope that you had the strength to cut into it - as eating it is all part of the experience!
November 25, 2009
August 20, 2009
Just a reminder that we haven't disappeared ... but we will soon! The new blog is just undergoing some tweaking and will be ready in the blink of an eye. It looks FAB so far!
Until then, visit our archives and let us know if there's anything you want to se more of! :)
July 23, 2009
We’ve already covered the bride and bridesmaids in previous posts, so let’s talk a little about the groom, groomsmen and ring bearer for your wedding…… Guys in the wedding party wear boutonnieres- small clusters of just one or two flowers/ greenery wired and taped that are then pinned onto their lapels. What we recommend most often is that the groom wears something that is special from the brides’ bouquet and then the groomsmen wear something from the bridesmaids. So if you are having a bouquet of all white flowers including roses, stephanotis and mini callas then the groom might wear either a mini calla or maybe you’d choose a cluster of stephanotis. If the bridesmaids then are carrying posies of say red and burgundy flowers such as hydrangeas with roses and berries then the groomsmen would wear perhaps a small cluster of hydrangea blooms with some berries.
This is a nice way to organize it as the guys are often all wearing the same outfits, including the groom so this will set him apart. It doesn’t always work out so neatly though- perhaps you are carrying all hot pink peonies for example- a peony is first of all much too large to work well as a boutonniere, but you may also come up against some objection to the flower being the colour pink ( believe me- it has come up….many times..) In this instance you would choose something that comes up elsewhere in the wedding to try and tie it all in.
Fairly new to the market are boutonniere magnets-
these handy little gadgets are used within the mechanics of the boutonniere and are really, really strong. We had one of Erin’s friends’ road test them at their wedding and apparently the magnets stayed on all night through much ruckus and dancing.
At Periwinkle we wrap the “stems” of the boutonniere with black ribbon as we feel it gives a nice finished look- I’ve also seen really nice finishes that use decorative wire wrapped around, or snippets of material to match other parts of the wedding.
Ring bearers are usually quite young- Many brides just choose to have them wear a version of the groomsmen’s boutonniere, to make them “one of the guys”. If you are thinking of having the ring bearer actually bear the rings on something, may I suggest a floral “pillow” for maximum adorableness!
July 21, 2009
With the sunshine finally out and some of our friends returning home from their tours in the next few weeks, counting down to the wedding feels as important right now as counting down to MM"s eventual fall return. So I'm setting aside the doldrums this week and rejoicing in the fact that I'm engaged, and to a wonderful Military Man.
Lately everywhere I look I find new inspirations. Yesterday it was flowers, in a local grocery store's floral arrangements, where I found lovely mini orchids that looked strikingly like this gorgeous instant-love of a mystery flower I saw last month in the farmer's market in Cannes, France:
Not sure how easy these might be to get here in Canada in May, but I'm definitely going to ask.
And I'm seeing a lot of women coming into the bookstore where I work, wearing the prettiest bright sundresses. I'm noticing that many of these women are not stick figure types, yet they look fabulous in big 1950s-inspired full-skirted dresses or 1960s inspired fitted sheaths in raw silk or cotton. I'm also noticing a lot of asymmetrical details, be it a hem that is higher in the front then in the back, or a triangular bodice that goes over only one shoulder. Sort of like this Jim Hjelm number that I'm loving right now but definitely not in black
Speaking of dresses, I guess that's my next big thing. Glancing over the wedding planning list, I realize we've made some real progress lately. Ceremony and event venues? Booked, with deposits paid. We're using a pretty waterfront city park for our outdoor ceremony (note: This was an extremely economical choice as well.... $25 for the permit and that's it!). The reception is the Chateau Laurier, so MM gets his castle.
Officiant? Booked (and loving the fact that it will be a local woman with a fantastic voice who happens to also be a college professor).
Photographer? Booked. Some of you may remember earlier this year my post here on our engagement session with Irina Fortey of Irina Photography and Susan's subsequent interview with her. Well, that session cinched it for us, so we're happy to say that Irina and her hubby Mihkel will be capturing the beautiful fleeting moments of our Day.
Florist? There is a florist that has been putting weekly arrangements into my fave Starbucks cafe with their business card and I'd been admiring their work over the last year. When Susan was here for our whirlwind planning session and scoping-out tour in May, we dropped into their shop and were pleased with their work, their personalities and their pricing. So I'm happy to say that they are on the shortlist and I hope to book them soon.
DJ? Originally we weren't going to have one, but the room at the Chateau includes a dance floor so what the heck? I have a lead on a great DJ that our military family resource centre uses often. I'm meeting the president this week and it is looking promising.
Cake? Oddly enough, for a hotel of Chateau Laurier's caliber, they do not have an onsite pastry chef. So we will indeed need to outsource this, But, as I posted here, MM and I found a company online whose work he likes the looks of (and hopefully the taste...we'll find that out when he's back). They are my front runners, so with any luck, that's chosen too.
Tux company? Chosen. Got a deal at a wedding show this winter so we have booked with a nationwide chain, which should make it easier since our stand-up guys and dads are scattered across this huge country.
Susan will be doing our invites (that should be rockin' fun to do!) and I've got a strong idea of what I want, with her guidance.
That doesn't leave much to be decided. Dresses? Yep that's almost pretty much it. Ok true there is decor for the ceremony and the reception, but that can wait quite a while yet. Short of keeping my eye open at garden centres now for those deep discount end of summer sales, for things to help make the public park pretty and private, I can turn my attention to some serious dress shopping and badger my stand-up gals into doing the same. I would like it all chosen by the end of September, so that it gives the 4-6 months I'm told it takes these days.
Steaming right along.. 298 days to go and counting!
July 17, 2009
We had a flat of wheat grass in the store this week, in order to make up a sample for an upcoming Bar Mitzvah. After that appointment we were left with several square feet of lovely fresh green shoots just sitting there, begging to be shown off. So, how about this for a fun centerpiece idea, perhaps for a bat Mitzvah or baby shower?
Or what about this?
Not in the market for a child centric party? Well, there’s always this for a wedding shower or wedding day centerpiece…..
I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I’ve been seriously resisting the urge to take off my shoes and walk all over it!
July 15, 2009
When I sat down tonight to write this post, I thought I’d talk about the stuff I saw in Europe that has inspired me, or share the news of what has happened in our wedding planning process. Things have moved along, decisions been made, deposits paid, checklist items marked off as done. But the words for talking about those things won’t come. I can’t write them, not right now.
Instead, what I feel inside of me tonight is the hole in my life caused by that goodbye in Heathrow a few weeks back. It is the bittersweet joy/pain of counting down not to the wedding, but to that day on the sometime-horizon when MM comes back home again.
When will it be? Right now, we’re not sure. The military has extended his tour by an undisclosed number of days and weeks. We think he will be home for Christmas, and for my graduation. But, like so much of living within military life, we are not sure.
It seems like every song I hear on the radio that speaks of love, of the joy of finding yourself in the eyes of someone else, or of rediscovering the meaning of home in someone’s arms makes me think of my man. Same goes for every song of separation, of longing, of commitment despite situations, miles and people. And I know that over there in the desert, despite the 8 ½ hours that separate us in timespace, MM feels the same, but amplified. For while I’m comfortable here in Canada, in the house that we’ve put together and the home we’ve made here, my man is hundreds of kilometers away. Living in 50 degree Celsius heat, surrounded by sand and scrub and makeshift buildings, my guy works and eats and sleeps, while also aching and dreaming and yearning of me and of home.
They say that deployment separations like this, with their demands and tensions, details and uncertainties, longing and loving from afar, they test a relationship. More than a few break on the crucible that is a tour. I’ve already watched a few military friend couples, engaged or even married, find their own relationships on rockier footing then they thought possible. And each morning or evening, when I talk to MM and I hear the weariness in his voice, or see the loneliness in his words on my instant messenger screen, I know firsthand how hard it is to live with all of this, and to be supportive and caring and upbeat for him, when I have many a day where I feel anything but those things.
Yet I made a commitment to him. When he first told me he was a military man, and when I accepted him and fell in love with him as my military man, I made a commitment to accept the hardships that came with this all encompassing vocation of his. And then once again, just over a year ago, when I proposed to him in that rumpled bed at 2 am on a Wednesday morning, I did it with a more defined awareness of what it would mean to be his Mrs.
Now, a year later and a little more than halfway into his tour, despite the loneliness and pain of having him so far away, I feel a renewed commitment to accept him with everything he is and an even deeper longing to be his Mrs. Even though I know even better now how hard it will be at times in our future life to be his wife and to share him with the military.
Thing is, he’s worth it. For his smiles and his dimples, his sparkling blue eyes and the sound of his unguarded laughter, the feeling of his abiding love and dedication to both me and to his calling as a military man… All of this and a thousand reasons more is why he is worth it.
As I've listened to these songs in the last few weeks, and again tonight, and yet again probably tomorrow and next week, I remind myself of all of this. It's worth it. He is worth it. When I’m planning the wedding, our wedding, I have tried and will continue to try to keep that one certainty firmly fixed in my heart and mind and dreams. Our wedding will be a public joining of us and a private celebration of the determination that got us through the days we’re in now to get to that Big Day.
Next year, when we are there, and the DJ plays the love songs I’m listening to now and MM and I dance together, I expect that the tears in my eyes and his will be not just be simple tears of happiness. Coming as they will then after two long years of being together, yet separated by military life, those songs will remind us of the days that have come before that Big One. The songs will whisper to him and to me of the deeper complexities of everything that has gone into getting us to our day, beyond the picking of the hall and the dress and the DJ and the flowers. The tears that flow then will be happiness, yet, but also a kind of cleansing of all this, as we join our newly married hands and walk out into the world together, side by side.
As the song says:
Everything I know, and anywhere I goWhile right now, then, I might not be sure of much, the one thing I am sure of is that I miss my military man. I love him, I am committed to him and I can’t wait to be his Mrs.
it gets hard but it won't take away my love
And when the last one falls, when it's all said and done
it gets hard but it won't take away my love
July 13, 2009
We have *not* disappeared. Honest! The big absence has been because of preparation for our new blog! Right now we're having some difficulties with our web host but as soon as that is resolved, we'll be ready to launch and show off the new digs!
In the meantime, I'll be posting when I can and I know some of the guest authors will be able to keep the ship afloat :)
July 4, 2009
I'm back in Canada after a lovely yet bittersweet three weeks in Europe with MM. We met in the airport in Rome, spent a few quiet days in a little Italian port city then boarded a cruise. 15 days and a dozen beautiful European city-ports later, we disembarked in the east of England and spent a few days in London before saying tearful goodbyes at Heathrow last weekend.
(a house on the canals in Bruges, Belgium)
Looking back at the pictures of the trip, and remembering the whole thing over again, I'm struck by how many of our pictures are of architectural details. Whether it was the fantastically highly wrought churches in Florence, the beautiful balconies of Barcelona, the steeply pitched roofs of Bruges (Belgium) or the limestone buildings in London, our pictures seem to be about the grand and little details of each of the places we experienced.
(the Duomo in Florence, Italy)
Granted we have a decent number of pictures of each other, usually of MM with a beer in his hand (he enjoyed sampling the various local varieties) or of me with my fun and silly custom made hat courtesy of a fabulous Etsy crafter, WorthyGoods.
(me on an open-topped tour bus in Barcelona)
And we have pictures of food, things we ate that seemed distinctive, like the gigantic and silly sundaes we ate in London's iconic Harrods department store.
They were straight of the Mad Hatter's Tea Party! (Sidenote: Imagine something like this instead of a wedding cake? Talk about wow factor!)
But overall, the pictures we took seem to act as memory boxes of the unique character of each city or town or country area. The markets, the streetscapes, the buildings, the statuary, these are what we wanted captured on film. And hopefully, too, some of the joy we felt at being together after a three month absence, and yes the poignancy of having to part again in London.
(MM & I near the port in Cadiz, Spain)
So now that the wind under the plane's wings has parted us both, me back here to Ottawa, MM back to Afghanistan, we will be able to use those photos over the next few months to remember the feeling and flavour and unique nature of each place and of the simple and profound joy of being hand in hand again, walking a city's streets, basking in togetherness.
July 3, 2009
Just a quick post to share with you two adorable weddings from the weekend- One at McLean house here in Toronto, shades of pink with silver grey, full of peonies and other summer loveliness.
This bride was madly in love with all spring flowers, but could only get the venue she wanted at the start of the summer, so we both spent many months praying hard for a cool slow spring ( sorry to all you hot weather lovers, as our hard work seemed to pay off!) to allow her to have her peonies at least.
The second was a downtown affair at the Park Hyatt hotel-
but this bride brought a sweet organic natural vibe to the urban setting which I loved.
After watching the Daily Show on Wednesday night, I *had* to look up something they were talking about. And it's perfect for Friday Footwear (something I haven't posted about in a while).
They've been on the news quite a bit but have you heard of .: Heelarious :.? The company was started by two friends and their product? High heels for babies 0-6 months of age. When I first heard about it, I have to admit I was taken aback and thought it was a touch overboard. Now that I've gone to the site and seen the product more closely, I'm finding them quite adorable. I'll let you decide for yourselves ...And here is the rest of it.
July 2, 2009
I came across this list on .: The Knot :. and thought it would be a great new topic and discussion. They listed the "50 First Song Ideas" ... totally subjective, of course. There are some great classics on the list but if I hear any more Celine Dion, Shania Twain or Chris DeBurgh as that first song, I may scream. Okay. I won't scream because I do believe people should play what makes them happy ... but I can scream inside, right? I'm a self-proclaimed music snob. Anyhow, the list gave me an idea to find alternatives that people may not have heard of. I focused on a Cowboy Junkies song a few weeks ago ... perhaps I'll have to find some other gems for you.
Without further adieu, here's the list ...
1. "At Last" (Etta James)
2. "As Time Goes By" (from Casablanca)
3. "Come Rain or Come Shine" (Ray Charles)
4. "Because You Loved Me" (Celine Dion)
5. "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" (Elton John)
6. "Can't Help Falling In Love" (Elvis Presley)
7. "Chances Are" (Johnny Mathis)
8. "Close To You" (The Carpenters)
9. "Could I Have This Dance?" (Anne Murray)
10. "Dream A Little Dream" (Mamas & the Papas)
11. "Embraceable You" (Nat King Cole)
12. "Endless Love" (Diana Ross & Lionel Richie)
13. "Fascination" (Jane Morgan)
14. "Fever" (Peggy Lee)
15. "Forever and Ever, Amen" (Randy Travis)
16. "Forever" (Kenny Loggins)
17. "From This Moment" (Shania Twain & Brian White)
18. "Grow Old With Me" (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
19. "Here And Now" (Luther Vandross)
20. "I Finally Found Someone" (Barbra Streisand & Bryan Adams)
21. "I Only Have Eyes For You" (The Flamingos)
22. "I Will" (The Beatles)
23. "If I Loved You" (from Carousel)
24. "In My Life" (The Beatles)
25. "It Had To Be You" (Harry Connick, Jr.)
26. "Lady In Red" (Chris DeBurgh)
27. "Love Theme To Romeo & Juliet" (from Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet)
28. "Marry Me" (Neil Diamond & Buffy Lawson)
29. "One Moment In Time" (Whitney Houston)
30. "Our Love Is Here To Stay" (Billie Holiday)
31. "So This Is Love" (James Ingram)
32. "Some Enchanted Evening" (from South Pacific)
33. "Something" (The Beatles)
34. "Somewhere" (from West Side Story)
35. "The Best Is Yet To Come" (Frank Sinatra)
36. "The Rose" (Bette Midler)
37. "Tonight I Celebrate My Love For You" (Roberta Flack & Peabo Bryson)
38. "True" (Spandau Ballet)
39. "Unforgettable" (Nat King Cole)
40. "Up Where We Belong" (Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warrens)
41. "Wedding Song (There Is Love)" (Captain & Tennille)
42. "Wedding Song (There is Love)" (Petula Clark)
43. "We've Got Tonight" (Bob Seger)
44. "We've Only Just Begun" (The Carpenters)
45. "When I Fall In Love" (Nat King Cole)
46. "Will You Marry Me?" (Vonda Shepard)
47. "Woman" (John Lennon)
48. "Wonderful World" (Louis Armstrong)
49. "You Are So Beautiful" (Joe Cocker)
50. "Your Song" (Elton John)
Some of these are great but others ... oh man ... Whitney Houston? The 80's called and want their playlist back :P
June 27, 2009
It was a little bit later than expected. Thirteen days to be exact. Reem was, um, 'anxious' to see her sweet pea born. Yes, we'll go with the word anxious.
Happily we received news a few hours after baby's birth that SHE had arrived. All ten fingers and ten toes were accounted for and mom & baby were completely healthy. The moment we had all been waiting had arrived! So what was the name? Well, Reem and Craig had been pretty sure the baby would be a boy ... they had that name picked out ... but baby GIRL would have to wait until tomorrow morning for that detail to be sorted.
Below are some pictures of the beautiful SERENA MAE in a pea pod outfit I gave her from Etsy artist .: Jolie M :.
And I can't resist posting a photo of my first visit with Serena.
I promise to always make you smile, Sweet Pea :)
Hey Crystal! Welcome to the blog-side of Moments That Shine ;) Before I start asking questions about the wonderful cake (and more) you created for me, can you tell us a bit about .: Ambrosia Cakes :. and how you got started?
.: Ambrosia Cakes :. was established from the true love of being creative. I have always loved creative careers; photography, cooking and now baking. There was a day when I really did not know what I was going to do as a career. I believed why go to school pay ridiculous amounts of money and then leave not wanting anything to do with what you studied. So I decided that I would work and get paid to figure out what I wanted to eventually go to school for. Michael’s is one of my favourite stores. One day I was standing in the checkout and saw the Calendar showing what classes they offered. So I went over got a copy for myself and then signed up for the Wilton cake decorating classes. Loved every minute of it and noticed that I was also pretty good at it. That’s when it began. I started experimenting with recipes and using my co-workers as guinea pigs. Then the orders started coming in.
That’s wonderful! Okay, on to this project you so lovingly took on. When I first told you my friend was going to be having a baby, I mentioned I called him (or her) ‘Sweet Pea’. One day you sent along a photo of some cupcakes and this is how the ball got rolling. Let’s pretend I didn’t add to things buy asking you to make a cake .... let’s talk about the cupcakes first. They were a fairly simple base but you added fondant pea pods to the top. Take us through how you mapped it out, what supplies are involved and how much time they took.
The cupcakes were actually very easy. The pea pods were made from fondant and took approximately three minutes each. Once you perfect one the rest take no time at all.
I should also add they tasted yummy. I can (unfortunately for my waistline) attest to that from having more than one ;) Okay … so that’s the run-down on the minis … what about the cake? I gave you a bunch of different inspiration photos. First, how did you decide on the final cake design? Take us through the steps again.
I like to challenge myself! I looked at all the photos and said which one would be the most rewarding when finished? After I chose the cake design, I baked the cake, made the icing, made the polka dots and then assembled it all together.
The icing on the cake (pun intended) with everything was the amazing figurine you put together for the cake topper. Pictures can’t really do it justice. For all of you reading, I wanted a pregnant lady cake topper with a twist … my friend is always on her laptop so I was hoping to capture that somehow. What Crystal managed to do was make fondant resemble my friend AND add the laptop. Crystal, I know you were up late the night before getting everything done but how far in advance did you start the figurine? I can’t even imagine how you would start something like that … drawings, maybe? And the colours used … help us learn your craft of molding sheets of fondant into an actual sculpture.
The figurine was the deciding factor when I chose that particular cake design. I had never made a figurine before. I have books that describe how to go about doing it but actually sitting down and molding fondant was an exciting experience. First I analyzed the picture and how it had been made. Then I wrote down in order what I would need to make first. The body was first not including the arms or the legs. I started the figurine a week before the cake was to be delivered. First I made the body and the head. I allowed those to dry for a couple days. The arms, hair and clothes where made next. Her legs were made the day of the delivery and set under the body so that they would hang naturally over the end of the cake. Oh the laptop I made the same day I did the clothes.
Crystal, thank you again for bringing this very special order to life. If people want to contact you with their own cake challenges, how should they get in touch with you and how much time do orders normally take?
Depending on the difficulty of the order I appreciate two weeks for celebratory cakes and cupcakes and two months in advance for wedding cakes. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and Susan thank you for the challenge.
I'm going to skip back to the shower now.
We managed to coax Reem to make the trek from Sudbury to the Toronto area with the help of many a people. The maternity pics by Jess were a perfect excuse. Of course Reem being the social butterfly she is, she had to make plans with everyone else she knew since she was going to be in the area. Chaos ensued. Her plan was to go for a spa day with all of her ladies ... luckily friends and family already received the invite & knew of my plan to have them drop by my house to surprise Reem throughout the day.
When we broke the news to her the morning of the shower, she was good at not acting too disappointed to be missing out on her day of relaxation ;)
And yes, the theme of the shower was sweet pea-ified. Everything was hand-crafted, eco-friendly and made as locally as possible, too! The games were simple and fun enough that no one dreaded them (hopefully). And my favourite activity was bringing out a bunch of solid coloured onsies, hats & bibs with non-toxic markers, sequins, etc. for guests to get creative for bambino. Below are a couple designed by Reem's talented sister :)
And to segue into the next post, I called upon my assistant, friend and baker extraordinaire, Crystal, to design and create the most amazing dessert for everyone. After feasting on her delectable cake and cupcakes, I do urge all of you to check out her own business, .: Ambrosia Cakes :. ... yum!
A good time was had by all, the parents-to-be left with quite a carload of treats and I was exhausted. But so totally worth it :)
Being pregnant is a fabulous excuse to have a portrait session. When else are you going to glow as much as when you have that wee one growing inside of you?! Maternity portraits are a great documentation of this precious time while you wait to become a Mommy. I recommend the session take place in either your seventh or eighth month - right when you have "popped" but before you start feeling too dragged down.
Susan recently bought a gift certificate from me in December for her friends Reem + Craig who are expecting in February. Since Reem + Craig live in Sudbury, it was a mission to get them down to the city for the session and the key was to do it on a weekend when Susan could throw a surprise baby shower for them! The weekend turned out well and Reem + Craig came into my studio on a Sunday morning before making their way back home to Sudbury. Reem + Craig are an adorable couple. I bet that their baby will be one of the most smiley ones ever!