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“My blog is a collection of tidbits about the things I love... sugar cookies, baking, great food, cute stuff, and life in Happy Valley. Check back often for updates!!”

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Hunt for the Perfect Cookie Cutter (and a cookie give-a-way)

posted Friday Feb 05, 2010 at 08:46 AM by Anne Yorks — 19 comments

You may not realize it, but a lot of thought and effort goes into each and every cookie before it ever gets to the website as a product. Here’s a little behind-the-scenes look at how a cookie is designed and created at Flour Box Bakery.

First, I brainstorm a big list of cookie design ideas. This Valentine’s Day I came up with 18 different collection themes and selected 5 of them to offer. One of the ideas on my must-do list was a lovebird theme. I started looking at birds and bird cookie cutters online. And then it hit me…I really wanted to do an Owl cookie. I had a mental image of a chunky, happy, lovey owl. Since I don’t make my own cutters (some people do), I began to search all of my favorite cookie cutter websites for the perfect owl. I like to shop on www.coppergifts.com, www.foosecookiecutters.com, www.karenscookies.net, and www.annclark.com. They each had an owl to offer, but it wasn’t chubby enough for me.

After hours of searching, I finally found this cookie cutter ‘The Funky Owl’ at The Squires Shop at www.squires-shop.com. They are located in England. It was perfect. Thankfully they ship to the US (It took about a week or so for the cutter to arrive).

Once the cutter arrived, I got out my favorite colored pencils, a gift from Topher two Christmas’ ago. I love these pencils because they have erasers.

I looked at a million pictures of owls and then I got to work. I wanted to sketch a Valentine owl and a baby shower owl. Here is my Valentine owl sketch…I definitely ice cookies better than I can draw them. Weird.

Then I put my ideas into action…here is the final product of the cookie. The feet are my favorite part of the cookie design. I don’t know why…they just make me smile!

So that’s it…that’s how a cookie is designed!

Now onto more important business…a cookie give-a-way! One lucky person will win a box of ‘Message Heart’ cookies. No purchase necessary…this is just for fun. Anyone can enter and here is how:

1. Post a comment (by clicking on the link just below the blog title) on what statement you would put on a candy ‘conversation heart’. Deadline to enter is MONDAY, FEBRUARY 8th. 2. One winner will be randomly chosen (through a hat drawing). 3. Check back on Tuesday, February 9th for the winner.

Good Luck!

Have a sweet day,

Anne

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Cat Got Your Tongue?

posted Wednesday Feb 03, 2010 at 10:34 AM by Anne Yorks — 6 comments

I get this all this all the time: “I want to order cookies for a friend/spouse/co-worker. Can you write something nice on the gift note?”

So, in case you’re planning to order for Valentine’s Day and need a little inspiration for the gift note, here you go…

If you’re sending the Lovebug Collection…

… your note might say:

“I want to be as snug as a bug in a rug with you on this Valentine’s Day. Love, Me!”

OR

“Hey Valentine, These cookies aren’t nearly as sweet or cute as you…but they sure do taste good! Happy Valentine’s Day!”

OR

“I’m going buggy for you! Be Mine!”

Maybe you’re sending the Frog Prince or Pig Princess Collection…

… Your note might say:

“Pucker up Valenine, I want you to be my prince/princess!

OR

“You make life like a fairy tale! Thanks for being my prince/princess!”

And maybe you want to send the Message Hearts…

…your note could say:

“You speak to my heart, Valentine!”

OR

“Sweet talk for a sweet Valentine! Have a great day!”

Or maybe you’re planning to send the popular Owl Collection…

Your note might say…

“Owl always love you! Be my Valentine!”

OR

“Hoo do I love? You! That’s Hoo! Happy Valentine’s Day”

OR

“Hey Lovebird, you make my wings flutter! XOXO!”

There really are a million ways to say you care! Do you have a suggestion? Post a comment and let me know! I’ll add it to the list for next time!

Also, I’m planning a COOKIE GIVE-A-WAY! Stay tuned…I’ll be posting the details later this week!

Have a sweet day,

Anne

PS Since the site is so new, I wanted to point out that gift notes are added during checkout in your shopping cart! If you have any questions about how to insert your note, please let me know!

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Handmade is Best!

posted Thursday Jan 28, 2010 at 02:43 PM by Anne Yorks — 42 comments

The cool thing about Flour Box cookies is that they are handmade. A person pushes the rolling pin. A person individually cuts out each cookie. And a person squeezes the piping bag to create the cookie design. I think that makes the cookies taste even better! Handmade is where it’s at!!

So let’s take a break from the cookie talk and focus on two amazing handmade gifts that were given to my daughter and I. I think you’ll agree that these ladies need to open a shop on www.etsy.com … stat! This kind of talent needs to be shared with the world, right?

For Christmas, my sister-in-law, Kate, gave my daughter a handmade picnic set. This is the set, all handmade…

Take a closer look…the detail is amazing!

These look good enough to eat. Especially those cookies with the brown button chocolate chips.

The peanut butter and jelly sandwich is ready to go. And the hoagie roll, yummy, baked just the way I like it. You can’t quite see it in the pictures, but the tomatoes have the ‘flesh’ sewn in and the chips (see above pic) have ridges sewn in. Nothing was overlooked!

Here’s another handmade gift I want to share…a beautiful scarf knitted by my other sister-in-law, Kim. She made a scarf for my daughter and I liked it so much that I asked her to make me one too.

The yarn is soft, yet sturdy. The knit is tight, so it won’t let the Pennsylvania winter air anywhere near my neck!

The length is great…

Did you notice the colors? As the queen of pink, this scarf is perfect for me. The two-tone look really adds nice style to this accessory!

Kate and Kim definitely have a creative gift.

Oh yes, handmade is best!

Have a sweet day,

Anne

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A Flurry of Activity

posted Tuesday Jan 26, 2010 at 09:40 PM by Anne Yorks — 1 comments

The first day of my new site proved to be even more exciting than I ever thought possible. Here are the highlights…

First, people are ordering. After all this work, it is so satisfying to have orders coming in. I want people to enjoy looking at the cookie pics. I want people to read my blog. But, I really want people to order cookies. It is so super cool that after all the work and expense, that the site works as a store front. I really appreciate all my customers (and future customers). Thanks to everyone for their orders on this first day!

Second, I received so many compliments about my cookie designs. Especially my valentine owls and my lovebugs. See the pics here…

My Owls (I am planning a separate blog post on this particular cookie. It has a story behind it)

My Lovebugs (don’t you love their little heart wings?)

Third, my Facebook fanpage jumped from 4 fans to 112 and counting. Each time I check the page, the number grows. The best part is that I don’t recognize a lot of the names on the list. That means that a ton of people are finding me through their friends’ posts. I read all the comments on my fanpage and was truly touched about all the kind and encouraging messages. What a great way to start off.

Fourth, I got four requests on custom orders in a matter of minutes. People emailed me about a party they are throwing with a specific theme and asked if I could do the cookies. Heck yeah I’ll do the cookies! I love custom orders. It’s fun to branch out into new cookie designs and try something new. I hope those request keep on coming!

Fifth, Tim Shutes, my web designer continues to polish the site. The search feature was added today as well as the newsletter sign-up. He is so talented. The search feature will weed through my products, all my site pages, and all my blog posts. What a great resource for my customers. I really think the search will be a great asset to the site.

That’s all for now…I need to get a great night’s rest because I’ve got some baking to do!

Have a sweet day,
Anne

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What's in a Name??

posted Friday Jan 22, 2010 at 02:11 PM by Anne Yorks — 8 comments

When I originally decided to start my business it was focused on candy, and not so much on cookies. I had a dream one night of candy falling from the clouds…which is exactly how I imagine heaven to be. So, I decided to call my business ‘Taste of Heaven’. Some of my repeat customers have used my old web address, www.tasteofheavencandy.com.

After some time, the cookie side of my business really started to take off. I was getting custom orders left and right. It was very exciting! Being a baker all my life, I enjoyed the new business growth and couldn’t wait to expand into more cookie designs. It wasn’t long before I knew I really wanted to pursue this cookie thing a little more.

And since I wanted to take things in a new direction, I felt like I needed a new name and look. Plus, www.tasteofheaven.com is a, ummm, well it’s a…’gentleman’s club’ in Chicago. I had way too many people forget the ‘candy’ on my web address and type in the wrong name to be surprised by dancing girls, especially friends from church (YIPE!). I really wanted to get away from that name.

I have been working on the concept for more than a year, and I am so excited to finally have my new site, logo, and business plan in full effect. Watch out world! I’m making you sweeter, one cookie at a time!

One of the most difficult parts of the process was deciding on a name. I wanted it to be unique, memorable and true to what I do. Some of the names that did not work out were:

Happy Valley Cookies (I live near State College which is referred to as Happy Valley)
Dripping with Sugar (this name made my mouth water)
Cookie Bomb (this name was both mine and my brother’s favorite, but in light of what is going on in the world, I decided it wouldn’t work out)
Daisy Kitchen (I’ll come back to this soon)
Bella Cookie (Bella ended up being a little too ‘trendy’ for me)

And the list goes on. I actually came up with 30 names and emailed them to my friends for input.

Then a few days later I was in my kitchen and I looked at the art on my wall. It’s a big daisy photograph taken by the very talented Pat Little, a local artist/photographer.

I started to daydream about daisy cookies and then it hit me. My favorite two things are flowers and cookies…and I love a little play on words…so my new company name was born…FLOUR BOX BAKERY! Please take some time to check out my cookies. I will be updating my site and blog weekly, so stop back often.

I have to say, it feels pretty good to be living my dream!

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