Monday, May 13, 2013

Day 47: Baked Goods for the coffee shop

I'm NOT a baker!  Never have been.  In fact when my youngest daughter was about 12 she started baking (from a box) and I thought even that was strange, where did she get that desire?  I'm not even a desserts person, I eat a dessert a few times a year...I don't like chocolate, and the idea of paying what they ask for a 'designer' cupcake, well thats just silly (although I admit, cupcakes are pretty amazing!) 

However, the tiny pastry's, breads, cookies, etc that I see in miniature scenes are the cutest things EVER!  and last year at the Good Sam show I fell in love with the cupcakes, I even went so far as to buy the 'frosting' and syringes to do it, but I didn't buy the mold, because I'll be honest, I was super broke at the time and the gal was asking $32 and well....that was 1/3 of what I spent at the whole show (I told you I was broke at that show :) Anyway, I had been reading about making miniature cupcakes and figured I could do them without the mold.  Well, in 6+ months, I never did get around to even trying (in my defense I've been a little busy), so one of my things on my list for Chicago was some molds, I ended up getting 4 (from 2 different vendors, 2 from true2scale and the other 2 I can't recall) anyway, last week I spent most of the week landscaping the book/coffee shop, however I ran into a few frustrations so I took a break from that (I've decided not to post any progress pics on the outside thought until it's done...I want the wow factor :) so now the remaining projects are espresso machine, counter top, a few misc displays, under counter/coffee bar supplies and baked goods..O and the darn menu has to get done....does it ever end?  I swear this is more work than opening a real book store and coffee shop.

Where was I and what did I start to write about? O' yes, baked goods. Just in case your curious on how the molds work, and if my flour-less thumb was successful....
Here are the molds I used.  I found there wasn't much "trial and error" in using them, they seem to work great no matter what.  I originally put some baby powder in the mold, thinking the clay would stick, it worked great, the powder wore off, and the clay still didn't stick, the clay got warm from constant re-rolling and still worked great, it was just a wonderful, easy and fun experience.  

Here are the chocolates I made, I experimented a little with different colors, I think way more can be done, but this was last thing I did yesterday and I was getting tired, so I made 3 'batches' (this is just a sampling) now I need to design boxes!

Here are some of the cupcakes, which I decorated this morning

The breads

The croissants, I really thought getting that flaky texture was going to be difficult, but it wasn't as bad as I thought, and didn't require as much patience as I though...thank goodness!

These should be breads, however I think I'm going to be using them in a cookie display

I think these are also going in a cookie display

What I found that worked the best for me was to make many cupcake bases in 3 different 'flavors' and then make many frosting tops in many colors.  This way I can put together what I need for this project and then if I need cupcakes for another the clay is all baked, I just need to glue together, decorate and wa-la!

Hope your enjoyed reading about my baking experience, I'd love to hear any tips you have to offer, my skills are soo limited, but my desire to learn is overwhelming!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Day 46 Sometimes you start with 1 project and end up with another

Well I was all ready yesterday to set out to 'tackle' another of Lisa's kits, that being the counter display box.  I was pretty excited, both because I thought it was just going to be great on my coffee bar and B) after the great conversations I had online after I did a 'review' of the other kit, well I was just excited to share this one, cause my faith in it being wonderful was huge.
So I got my kit all open and ready, and as I've learned in my 'wiser' years, I read through the instructions before I started (this is really so incredibly smart and I wish I could get rid of those urges I always get to just skip the reading and starting the building).  Any way, steps 1 -5 or so are so easy and and my cabinet is looking amazing...and then.....I walk it over to just get a visual of how it's going to look where I want it....and's too wide!  Crap!!!  But while standing there staring and being disappointed my husband saids, that's a great look for a cash register, and then I kinda laughed, because ironically the night before I was researching cash registers online.  Is it strange to anyone that I 'research' cash registers?  Well probably not, but it does sound like a funny thing to admit to.  Anyway, this comment from husband was like a kick in the shorts to the little mouse on the wheel and next thing I know the kit is set aside and I'm cutting balsa wood into pieces designing a cash register, which is completely inspired by the design of the counter display I was working on.  So I get the basic make up of it done and then start pulling out my boxes of finds and jewelry pieces and between Husband and I, this is what we came up with...part steampunk, part vintage looking, part shabby chic maybe ???  I don't know what 'style' it really falls into, I guess in our house we just call it "Sophie Style"

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Day 45: Sophie's Books & Coffee...the left wall

Since I realized the other day that I haven't posted 1 picture on the left side wall for Sophie's Books & Coffee's I figured I'd take the opportunity I had yesterday, when I permanently installed the 2nd floor (which nope, didn't take pictures of yet), so with no more ado....
As you can see, there is more work to be done, the space left blank on the left is where the coffee bar is going, and the top shelf is going to be a display of some sort.

Here it is with the main outside walls finally permanently together.

I've been doing lots of work on the outside, I believe the loft area is close to complete, I'm having roofing issues, and the coffee bar is FAR from ready....I think I'm feeling a little overwhelmed, this is the large project I've ever taken on, and I'll be honest I think I'm going a little crazy!

Day 44: Lisa's Little Things Pie Boxes Kit Review

The glue isn't even dry, and I can't wait to share with you how wonderful this (and I'm assuming the other 3 kits) from Lisa's Little Things are!!!

As in normal writing (and speaking) for me, I must digress....As much as I'm a kit lover, I'm also one of those people that loves to make things completely on my own, so A) I can feel more proud of them and 2) so I can have them exactly how I want them. Recently there was a huge discussion in one of my online groups about people using the phrase "I can do that" and although I think it's beyond bad manners and just completely rude to EVER say that in front of an Artist or Craftsperson, I admit, I'm one of those people that MANY times will admire and get inspiration from others things and then create my own.  I'm absolutely obsessed with google images for this reason.  One of my talents is using my computer (is that really a talent?) and for this reason I'm taking a 2 day course this month so I can better use my photoshop (now that I've taken that plunge) ANYWAY, so purchasing a kit that's something of a paper nature is NOT something I would normally do.  So while I was in Chicago at the big show, I  found these kits by Lisa's Little Things, and I think at the time I felt I was having a moment of weakness, and well quite frankly the little pie boxes were just a great idea for my coffee shop's display case that I hadn't though of, so I grabbed them.  And since I already had some ideas for my coffee bags (which I designed, printed and put together earlier this week...see, I usually work from scratch) she also had some adorable tea boxes and then a little display case....bam...purchased.

So today I decided to take a peak at what's actually in the mind you, I was expecting a couple of color copied pieces of paper where everything would have to be cut out by me...
but here is what I found.... 
Looks fairly basic, but what you can't understand by looking at this picture is the amazing quality of the paper of the boxes, and how they are die cutted (I'm assuming anyway), and how easy they go together.  Yes the labels have to be cut out, but quite frankly that was easy and I don't think there would be a way to put them in the kit safely if they were pre-cut.

Here are all 4 boxes in different stages of put togetherness.  (The pie was not included, luckily I had a couple pies already baked, or I'd probably be baking now instead of sharing my excitement.  

Since I've already confessed so much, I may as well come completely clean, when I got the 1st box all together, I contemplated not using the labels that came with the kit, and making my own, so they could have the coffee shop logo on them, but then I made an execute decision that our pies would be purchased from Whittard's (the name on the box).....because as much as I would love to spend the next 2 hours designing and printing custom labels for pie boxes, I honestly DON'T think I could do as good of a job as Lisa already has!

Here's a sneak peak into another project I'm working on today