June 27, 2009

To Love Somebody

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 :)

An Interview With Ambrosia Cakes

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 ambrosia_cakes@aroma.com and Susan thank you for the challenge.

I Hope That Someone Gets My Message In A Bottle

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 :)

Maternity Portraits

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!

June 26, 2009

Forever Isn't Far, It's Coming Soon

There isn't really a more important time in one's life than when having a baby. And when two people you absolutely love and adore announce that they're becoming first-time parents there isn't a more exciting time as a friend.

Reem and Craig dropped by for a visit one weekend last summer and right before they left, Reem gave us the good news. Besides instant jubilation, my Planner Brain started in full force and the next nine months (yeah, I refuse to do weeks) flew by. After all, I don't have a sister, my brother is a mere fifteen years old and almost all of my close friends with babies are far from me. This was my opportunity to become an honourary aunt!!! It's all about the baby though, right? ;)

I'm not sure how it started or why but I decided to call the baby 'Sweet Pea' ... and it kind of stuck. Every month I would package up some kind of a Sweet Pea related gift and mail it off to Reem. Hopefully it was as fun for her as it was for me!

Christmas rolled around and Reem was VERY pregnant. What better gift than a portrait session with .: JBSmith Photography :.? I picked up a gift certificate from Jessica and then made sure Reem arranged to have the session when I was planning her top-secret Sweet Pea baby shower! There were quite a few hiccups but we managed to get all of her friends here for the day before the session for a nice surprise. Before I go into the shower itself, I'd love for you to tune in tomorrow to read Jessica's post about the portrait session. Perhaps backwards but it works ;)

Tomorrow is Baby's 120th day with all of us so we'll continue this story then ...

June 25, 2009

There Is A Town In North Ontario

This week I went on a hunt for cool finds either in Toronto (or the areas closeby) or things about Toronto. I found a great assortment!

Sam the Record Man was an icon in Toronto and is sadly now gone. Thankfully there were photographers such as .: digitalkangaroo :. around to document the landmark.

.: allthingsjenuine :. comes up with great paper art! The Etsy shop may be closing soon so also be sure to check out the website at .: THIS LINK :.

Hot weather is here and we all need a little relief. Spice up your wardrobe with a shirt like this from .: PrettyRaccoon :.

.: greavesdesign :. wants you to add some colour into your wardrobe with these great cuffs!

If you're looking for a gift for the newlyweds in your calander, how about some beautiful ceramic bowls by .: lurearts :.? I know I use mine all the time!

I was fortunate enough to meet .: kateszabone :. at Christmas last year as she hand-delivered a gift I had made for my best friend. Lovely woman and her jewellery is outstanding!

A bit out of the way of Toronto but I had to feature this next artist anyhow. .: jellybeans :. does these colourful paintings sure to brighten up anyone's room :)

.: bananastrudel :. has dug up something very close to my heart. And old-fashioned map of where I grew up. I just may have to bid on this one myself.

.: gotamago :. has come up with a perfect case to carry all of your travel documents in!

My favourite of the week ... something I'm kind of conflicted with since I'm not a big fan of the TTC ... but this necklace by .: storybeads :. is so innovative, colourful and FUN that I *had* to share it :)

June 24, 2009

In That Second Of A Shooting Star

Autumn and Mat's wedding was nothing short of a page out of a fairytale. From getting married in the church at the historic .: Trafalgar Castle :. to celebrating with those they are closest to at .: Deer Creek Golf Club :., everything about the day was perfect. Even the windy, cold, gray weather didn't dampen spirits. The day was particularly great for me as I was able to work with some vendors I love ... our very own Kelly from .: Makeup In Motion :. did Autumn's makeup :)

The fabulous Jenn of .: 360 Photography :. documented the day and was kind enough to share the pictures with me. In turn I'd like to share some of them with you!

Autumn and her lovely ladies in hot pink

A beautiful shot of the chapel.

Mat and his men ... waiting ...

The star of the show and ring bearer ...

Beautiful décor by .: Annie Lane Events & Décor :.

Guests were entertained right from the get-go by the band Autumn & Mat found.

.: Orbit Sound :. provided the timely recorded tunes.

Check out Autumn's change of dress for the reception.

Mat's dad delivered a moving speech and also presented Autumn and Mat with a special gift ... signed by all the guests.

Deer Creek knows how to do dessert.

The most decadent of cakes ... made by Autumn's aunt!

Jenn was kind enough to snap this photo of my amazing colleague, Chrystal and I.

All in all, a beautiful wedding with nothing to worry about. A dream for this planner! Congratulations Autumn & Mat. May this be the start of a beautiful chapter in your lives.