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Sweet Success

posted Friday May 14, 2010 at 11:22 AM by Anne Yorks — 4 comments

It's graduation time and Flour Box is offering a delicious cookie gift for 2010 grads!

You can view this new item by clicking here!!

 

This gift includes 12 cookies: 2 school pennants, 2 '2010' balloons, 2 diplomas, 4 message stars, and 2 graduation caps. Plus, I will customize your order with your SCHOOL COLORS. When ordering, just email me, Anne Yorks, at anne@flourboxbakery.com or complete our contact form here.

Here are a few close-up shots of the cookies:

Diploma

2010 Balloons (strings not included...Toph added those for fun)

The stars, graduation cap, and school pennant.


Here is me with my awesome Dad (also a Penn State grad) the day I graduation from Penn State many moons ago...


In other family news, my little girl is officially drawing faces that are starting to look like faces. Previous drafts have been mostly scribbles. Check it out. I'm framing this baby and putting it on the wall!

Toph looks the best...

My mom and I got hair! That was my little girl's idea too! I either have two mouths or two noses. I'm not sure which. I'm hoping it's two mouths...then I can eat twice as many cookies : )


Have a very sweet weekend,

Anne

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A Set of Musical Birthday Cookies

posted Thursday May 13, 2010 at 03:34 PM by Anne Yorks — 1 comments

A mystery has been solved.


Two days ago, this package appeared on Topher's desk at work. It had a card attached to the top with a cute flower decal and my name (written in my favorite dottie lettering). Topher didn't know who it was from, but sent me a text pic immediately. I love surprises, polka dots, and cupcakes, but I hate waiting!!

All day I dreamed about my secret surprise. 

That night, when Toph arrived home from work he looked at me and facepalmed himself as soon as he walked in the door. It was at that moment I realized my special secret surprise was still on his desk. Ugh. In his defense, he offered multiple times to go back to work and get it. But, being strong, I decided I could wait one more day.

It was totally worth the wait! This is what was inside the mystery bag...


An adorable cupcake with a pink base, sprinkles, and a cherry on top...but the best part is that it's a CANDLE!! A handmade candle by Melissa Stitzer. Here's the note:

Anne, 

Thought you might like another cupcake to go in your cake stand with the ones you got from Michaels! The icing is a vanill-y baked apple scent and the base is called 'Grandma's Kitchen' ... Enjoy! : ) 

Melissa

The cupcake looks AND SMELLS good enough to eat. It's just so cute on my cake stand. So realistic. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I appreciated this thoughtful gesture. I'm already planning my own secret sweet surprise to give in return. Sssshhhh. Don't tell Melissa.

I know Melissa makes and sells candles at many of the local craft shows and other street vendor events. Toph and I gave one of her candles to my mom for Christmas last year. A 'clean cotton' scent that is wonderful. I'll try to get some contact information if anyone out there is interested ordering. I mean, c'mon, don't you want one of these???


Things are still busy, busy in the cookie department. I'm working on a few handmade candies for a top secret birthday surprise that my mom is giving to one of her friends. I can't give any more details, but I should have pictures ready by next week.

I do have one birthday set to share with you today. It's a little old and new. 


I have done the guitars before (for a Rock Star themed 16th birthday party), but the bass guitars - the black and white ones with four strings - are new. So are the music notes and the pianos.


Just for fun I included a little Happy Birthday on the piano cookie.

Here are a few close-up guitar pictures. I love how the strings look.

I used a #1 tip to get all those strings on there. I think #2 would be too wide.

I was in a rush to get this order packed up. Normally, Toph or I take the pictures on the lightbox he built for all cookie photos. But for the sake of saving time, these were taken on my new gorgeous platter that I got from my mom for Mother's Day. It's great...

It says, "I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10


I'm smiling now. I hope you are too.

Graduation cookies will be posted tomorrow!!!

Have a sweet day,

Anne




 

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Happy Birthday, Flo!

posted Wednesday May 12, 2010 at 02:39 PM by Anne Yorks — 1 comments

Happy Birthday to Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing! In her honor, nurses around the globe are celebrating National Nurse Appreciation Week! This time of recognition for these everyday heroes is celebrated from May 6th - 12th.

According to Wikipedia, Florence Nightingale, "(12 May 1820 – 13 August 1910) was an English nurse, writer and statistician. She came to prominence during the Crimean War for her pioneering work in nursing, and was dubbed "The Lady with the Lamp" after her habit of making rounds at night to tend injured soldiers. Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment, in 1860, of her nursing school at St Thomas' Hospital in London, the first secular nursing school in the world. The Nightingale Pledge taken by new nurses was named in her honour, and the annual International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world on her birthday."

So it was with much honor that I made a special gift for a special nurse.



The collection included a nurses bag.


A scrub t-shirt with stethoscope.



And, my favorite, a teddy bear nurse.



During the photoshoot, the teddy bears actually got up and did a little ditty from "A Chorus Line". ;-) You should see them kick!



My customer definitely had a sense of humor. He ordered one of the nurse bags to be personalized with 'Nurse Ratched' a nurse from the movie 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'. She worked at a mental hospital and is described as a cold, sadistic nurse. Yipe! I'm so glad real nurses aren't this way...at least not in Happy Valley. Anyway, the nurse that received the gift enjoyed the humor. 

So speaking of nests...

I took this picture on Monday.



It's a little blue egg in a nest just outside our sliding door on our deck. The mama bird has been working on this nest masterpiece for a few weeks. We actually have a HUGE line of trees near our yard that houses like four thousand birds. I refer to this area as 'Bird City'. There is also a single tree in the yard with another thousand birds and I call this tree, 'Birdtown, USA'. So I decided this is the country house. Toph and I decided we couldn't destroy this marvel of bird craftsmanship. I wish I would have taken pictures throughout the construction phase. It was a fascinating process. 



So today I checked on the egg to make sure things were ok. I discovered this...



FOUR EGGS!! I'm so excited! I'm planning a 'Name that Bird' contest for when they hatch. So start thinking now. I already have a great prize for the winning entry! I hope to announce the start of the contest soon!!!

That's all for now. Back to work for me. Lots of decorating to do. This week started off easy and now by Wednesday it's slammin'. I love it!

Have a sweet day,
Anne

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Seattle or Bust (part 2)

posted Sunday May 09, 2010 at 09:38 PM by Anne Yorks — 7 comments

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful mom's in the world - especially all the moms in my family!!! I had a fantastic day with my sister and mom! They are the BEST!

This is the message on my Mother's Day card from my mom:

Dear Anne,

I'm sorry I couldn't send you the cutest, sweetest present on earth. But I didn't want you to have to make and send cookies to yourself! Happy Mother's Day to a great mother and daughter.

Love,

Mom

I have the best mom ever. She is so amazing. I just love her with all of my heart!

Speaking of hearts, I wanted to follow up on my promise to show you a behind the scenes look at the making of these cookies, the bon voyage bridal shower cookies made for the bride-to-be moving to Seattle:


Did you see yesterday's blog post? Seattle or Bust (part 1). This post gives you the design perspective of the cookies. Check it out by clicking here

So let's start with the luggage tag...


I think the challenge with this cookie was making sure the tag looked consistent. I was making around 20 of this particular cookie, and I wanted to be sure the white area would be about the same size. I decided to cut a small rectangle out of paper and use a toothpick to mark the corners. These marks would then serve as a guide for my piped white line. The icing used for outlines, details, and writing is thicker than the icing used to fill in large areas - or flood in large areas.


From there I was able to pipe the black and pink outlines. Plus, I added the little circle grommet. I usually use a #2 tip with a decorating bag for all piping. Once I had all the outlines piped...I started to flood in the colored icing. Flooding is the thinner icing that flows into an outlined area. It then dries smooth and hard, making it easy to add another layer of decoration on the top, for example, words, dots, lines, etc. 

When the icing is still wet, it tends to bleed together. It's important to allow drying time between the layers to avoid this from happening. I find it especially visible when black and white are next to each other. I don't like to rush the drying time. Haste makes waste. So instead of flooding the black, I skip to the pink.


Now I let both colors dry and get set up. Once they are nice and dry...I can go back and add the black icing in between. Then before I pipe any extra detail, I must let that area dry as well.


So while those are drying, I move onto the hearts. 


First I outline the pink heart using the thicker pink piping icing.


Next I flood the heart with the thinner pink icing. I use a squeeze bottle for this part. 


Using a toothpick, I gently tap the flooded icing to the edge. I like a nice full cookie :)


While this layer is still wet, I add the polka dots.

In my experience, it is best to let the pink sit for a few minutes. I usually do 3-5 cookies with pink and then come back and add the dots. I do them in batches because I have found that if I add the dots immediately they have a tendency to 'spread'. By waiting a few minutes, they stay nice and crisp. I just don't wait too long. Otherwise they will sit on top of the pink making it very difficult to add other details or writing.

See how the dots look a little raised. They eventually 'melt' into the bottom layer creating a smooth surface.


I let them dry for at least 8 hours... preferably overnight. So once these hearts are in the drying phase...I move onto the suitcases.


The initial phase of these cookies involves the outline of the two areas for the black and pink icing. 


And just like the luggage tags, I let the pink dry a bit before I add in the black. 

Once the black is flooded. I wait for everything to dry.


Then it's time for the detail. Since I sketch the cookies in advance, I know how I want them to look. I add the lines, dots, and text to the luggage tags. I also add an outline to the black edge to give it more of layered look.

Then I add the text and black outline to the polka dot hearts. These layers, because the icing is thicker, take much less time to dry.


Then I tackle the suitcases. I really wanted the plaid to have an intertwined look. 


So it took a little more effort, but this is how I achieved it. First, I added the black lines. I decided they should be on the bottom. 

Then I alternated the layers. I did about 20 cookies of this style. So this part took me a little while. I did pink first. Then I layered white over that. Then back to pink. And then, I finished up with one last layer of white.

    

    

I let these lines dry before I added the handle over top.


Then Toph took a few pictures of the finished product before they got wrapped up.

Thanks for reading. I just love making cookies so much. I am always excited to share my projects on this blog. I do have a few other custom projects to show over the next few weeks. Plus, I'm researching a very interesting project for my mom. She wants me to make her friend something very custom and unique. For my mom, I'll do anything. I'm up to the challenge.

Have a sweet day,

Anne

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Seattle or Bust (part 1)

posted Saturday May 08, 2010 at 03:31 PM by Anne Yorks — 3 comments

It's naptime in the Yorks household, this week's orders are complete, and a fresh pot of coffee is brewing. Ahhhhh...it's blog time! It's been a very busy week of baby shower cookies, nurse cookies, fire fighter cookies...and lots and lots of MOTHER'S DAY cookies!! I'll be posting pictures soon! Thank you again to everyone that ordered this week! I just loved meeting you and being a small part of your holiday or event. It's really so cool how this business is tying me into all these new friendships.

Toph is working this weekend...bummer...since it's Mother's Day tomorrow.  But, he decided we are celebrating Mother's Day weekend. Woo hoo! Yesterday he spoiled me with a new pair of tennis shorts and a great shirt. Today I got a new Tupperware set. What? You don't think that's cool? Well then maybe you aren't a mom. Am I right on this? I think all moms like good storage containers for leftovers. We have a ton of old Chinese take-out containers. They are pretty ratty and we are starting to lose the lids somehow. I'll update you on tomorrow's present. But, that's assuming I'm going to get another one. My tennis racket is missing. I suspect it will reappear tomorrow with a few updates *fingers crossed*.

I have a super cool cookie project to share with you today. I did cookies for a 'bon voyage and travel' themed bridal shower last week. I took lots of pictures throughout the cookie-decorating process. Today, part 1, I want to show you the pictures. Tomorrow, part 2, I'm planning to post a little behind-the-scenes glimpse into the making of these cookies. I love showing how I do things. I think it gives customers and friends an appreciation for the amount of detail that is required to making each cookie special.

Here are the cookies ... My client told me she wanted a travel theme with a pink and black color scheme. She left the details up to me. I am always excited when a customer trusts me to 'design' the cookie on my own. But there is a certain amount of pressure that comes with that privilege. The bride-to-be is moving to Seattle (from Pennsylvania)! That's quite a move, but she is marrying an army doctor and he is being re-located to the west coast. We chatted briefly about doing Seattle themed cookies (space needle, starbucks, grunge band, coffee mug, etc), but in the end we decided on cookies that fit with the theme AND the party colors.


This pink and black luggage / suitcase cookie is inspired by a Burberry Tote. I just liked the plaid pattern and the handle style. 


Making plaid anything is a time-consuming endeavor, but I loved the end result...

Here is an even closer look at the plaid detail. It's actually intertwined. 


Next, I searched high and low for interesting luggage tags. After all, this is one hip bride. I'm sure she travels in style.

I found so many cute tags...

from www.allthingscupcake.com


from www.funkychunkyhandbags.com


from www.cloth-ears.co.uk


I thought polka dots and stripes would make an adorable tag...so here is my creation. I originally planned to poke a hole in the cookie. But when I was baking, I was so focused on the cookie making that I totally spaced on the whole idea (pun intended!). So I just had to pipe the hole with icing. That's ok. I think things turned out cool.


The heart cookie was inspired by another cookie blog post that I read recently. I found the blog through the Cookiers R Us yahoo group and now I can't find her again. I hate it when I do that. Normally, I add the address to my Google reader right way. I looked for it again and again, but I can't find it. If it's you, please email me and I'll be sure to give you credit. There are so many pink and black hearts in this world. I found this great Hershey's box of chocolate. 


I added the Seattle or Bust to the heart cookie to make it more personal to the bride.


Aren't these pictures great? I wish I could take the credit, but it was Topher that took them for me. I was in a rush to pack for my NYC trip that I did not have time for the photo shoot. I have more great pictures to share with you tomorrow. He did some interesting things with the cookie placement. I have such a talented, creative husband!

So are you interested in learning how I made the plaid suitcase? Or the luggage tag? Maybe you want to know how the polka dots get added to the heart cookies. Tune in tomorrow for a complete, unedited, look at how I made these cookies. It'll be fun, I promise!

Until then, Have a very sweet Mother's Day weekend!

Anne

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